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CLE., O.B.E. 




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The transfer of power in India is widely, recognised as 
perhaps the greatest single development in world affairs 
since the Second World War; it is an irony of history, 
however, that the larger the scale of the event the greater 
the danger of it being lost in legend or blurred by contro- 
versy. Already the fogs of propaganda and political in- 
vective are helping to obscure the view of Lord Mount- 
batten's momentous mission to India. 

, Some five months after my return from service on the 
personal staff of the last Viceroy and first constitutional 
Governor-General of India, I delivered an address on the 
transfer of power to the Royal Institute of International 
Affairs. It is reproduced in full by kind permission of 
the Council of the Institute as an Epilogue to this book, 
but if the reader prefers to start with a bird's-eye view 
of the period covered by my diary narrative it will serve 
equally well as an introduction. It was the interest shown 
in this attempt to provide a general appreciation of Lord 
Mountbatten's term of office that first encouraged me to 
recall the story in more vivid detail for a wider public. 

How did I come to be in this position of privileged 
eye-witness? My previous excursions into contemporary 
history were biographies of Anthony Eden and Lord 
Halifax, but whereas, in both these books T was obliged 
to dig for my source-material from papers and impres- 
sions largely at second-hand, here was the rare opportu- 
nity to write not just from the documents and experiences 
of others, but of events in which I was taking part. 

In July 1942 I found myself, by the chances of Royal 
Air Force service, suddenly assigned as Air Public Re- 
lations Officer on Lord Mountbatten's staff at* Combined 
Operations Headquarters. When, fifteen months later, 


he was nominated to the position of Supreme Allied Com- 
mander South-east Asia, he asked for me to take charge 
of his inter-command and inter-allied Records Section. 
In this post he did not leave me simply to obtain inform- 
ation from official documents, but used to call me in 
lo high level meetings and weekly interviews to provide 
personal background for the records. By the time he 
was invited to go to India as Viceroy I was sufficiently 
a part of the Mountbatten machine to be asked to rejoin 
him now in civilian capacity as Press Attache— a post, 
incidentally, unknown to his predecessors 

The primary purpose oi this book is simply to tell the 
story from daily notes, letters and memoranda J wrote 
at the lime. * 

For the most part 1 provide source-mnterial for history 
rather than the history itself: evidence rather than an- 
other verdict on India. The events and personalities are 
still too near for me to attempt any final analysis of 
them. From my particular vantage point 1 feel the cause 
of analysis is best served if the atmosphere in which we 
lived is first recaptured and the opinions we lormed on the 
spot are duly appreciated. If this is a hurried, breathless 
narrative, that is because we all worked at the highest pres- 
sure and with an acute sense of urgency. If it appears 
disjointed, that is because ad hoc problems demanding 
immediate solution cut across continuity to become our 
daily routine. 

Lord Mountbatten's methods of using a large high- 
powered staff under these conditions of stress and strain 
were original and ingenious. For every hour of discus- 
sion with the Inflian leaders he allowed a quarter of an 
hour for dictation before seeing the next visitor. Copies 
ot his interview notes were distributed to all the key 
members of his Staff. He obtained our advice and did 
his thinking aloud at the daily Stall Meetings, which we 
all attended already knowing every word that had pass- 
ed at his private and informal interviews the day* before. 
This is how it will be found that on occasion I have no 



difficulty in quoting what Lord Mounlbatlcn said and 
thought at any given time when 1 was not necessariN 
there myself. 

fn spite of the pace, the setbacks and distractions, the 
transfer of power by Partition was steadily evolved ac- 
cording to schedule. Within seventy-three days of our 
arrival the Partition Plan had been announced; a further 
seventy-two days after that, and the Viceroyalty itself was 
at an end. Throughout Mounlbattcn's ten months as 
Governor-General the tempo never substantially slacked. 
All this immense and self-sustaining concentration of effort 
is, 1 believe, better brought out by maintaining as far as 
possible the chronological sequence, rather than in the se- 
lection and separation of special themes. I have therefore 
simply divided the book into its two natural parts: the 
periods before and after the 15th August- Independence 
Day. Within that framework the narrative is, as I have 
already said, in efTect a daily progress. 

J am indebted to Mr. V. P. Menon and Captain R. V. 
Brockman, R.N., both former colleagues on Lord Mount- 
batten's staff in Jndia, and to Mr. A. H. Joyce, Officer 
in Charge of Information at the Commonwealth Relations 
Office, for reading through my dairy narrative 
in typescript, also to Mr. K. St, Pavlowitch for checking 
references, and last but not least in my wife * for her 
accuracy during the long and often Idle hours of dicta- 
tion, typing and proof-reading. 

My acknowledgements for permission to reproduce the 
illustrations are due to: Press Information Bureau, 
Government of India (Nos. 2, (), II, 12, 17 and 
26): Associated Press (No. 1): Kinsey , Brothers, 
New Delhi (No. 3); Lord Mounlbatten; Comman- 
der Peter Howes, R.N. (No. 5); Mr. David Walker 
(No. 9); Life (No. 15); Lalit Gopal, New Delhi (No. 
18): P. N. Sharma, New Delhi (No. 19); International 


News Agency; Press Association-Reuters (No. 27). 


July 1951 


"It may be said of the British Raj, as Shakespeare said 
of the Thane of Cawdor, 'Nothing in his life became him 
like the leaving it*. . . . This, Bill is a moral to all future 
generations; it is a Treaty of Peace without a War." 

Such was Lord Samuel's considered tribute, paid during 
the House of Lords debate on the Indian Independence 
Act, to the creation by compromise and consent of two 
new nations involving one-fifth of the entire human race. 

It was certainly the privilege of a life-lime to be given 
the chance, as a member of Lord Mountbatten's staff, of 
playing some personal part in this unique transfer of 

In announcing to Parliament on 20th February, 1947, 
Lord Mountbatten's appointment as Viceroy, Mr. Attlee 
stated that he would be "entrusted with the task of trans- 
ferring to Indian hands the responsibility for the govern- 
ment of British India in a manner that will best ensure 
the future happiness and prosperity of India". But 
Mr. Attlee then added that there was to be a time limit 
for achieving agreement if possible and for transferring 
power in any case by June 1948 -the principle no doubt 
being that a time limit would induce the necessary margin 
of agreement between the two great Indian political parties, 
the Congress and Moslem League, as nothing else had so 
far succeeded in doing. 

In spite of the immediate controversy it provoked, this 
time limit was in effect the logical conclusion of the policy 
decision of the British Government early in the war to 
cease recruitment for the Indian Civil Service. .The nor- 
mal complement of that Service was never much more 
than eleven hundred; by November 1946 it had fallen to 
five hundred and twenty British officers in senior positions, 




with the remainder Indians. In 1039 the Central Govern- 
ment Secretariat was run on the basia of, approximately, 
thirty senior administtative olhcers, but by the end of the 
war the number oi ofliceis oi equivalent grade had risen 
to three hundred 

'I he same situation was developing in the Provinces. 
This tremendous buicaucrulic growth of work coinciding 
with the decline in the number of British senior officials 
made it cleat, quite apart from other considerations, that 
it was going to be vntujlly impossible to hold on to India 
administratively beyond 1949. It is doubtful whether the 
police establishment was strong enough by 1947 to en- 
force any policy opposed by both major parties, and it 
is fair to say that any large military commitments in India 
to maintain the Raj would have been wholly unacceptable 
to the British Government or people. 

The original schedule Lord Mountbatten set himself was 
to produce a plan by October 1947, discuss it with the 
British Government and put it to the Indian Leaders by 
about January 1948. While he was still at home this ap- 
proach was considered much loo hurried, but he had hard- 
ly set foot in India when he reached the firm conclusion 
that it was, in fact, much too leisurely to meet the situa- 
tion then confronting us. We were faced by rapidly rising 
Hindu-Moslem tensions; "Direct Action" had been 
launched by the Moslem League in August 1946; there 
were riots and reprisals for riots. This set off the spark, 
and disturbances of great intensity took place in Bengal 
and Bihar. The trouble spicad to Lahore and the North- 
west Frontier Province. In his first talks with Lord Mount- 
batten the Moslem* I eague leader, Mr. Jinnah, gave a 
frank warning that unless an acceptable political solution 
was reached very quickly he could not guarantee to con- 
trol the situation from his side. A similar warning was 
given by Congress leaders. 

Although it was still officially in being, the sg-called 
Cabinet Mission Plan, negotiated throughout 1946, had 
already broken down. This was the last attempt to 



achieve a unitary system for India, and it was based on 
an elaborate three-tiered structure of Provinces and groups 
of Provinces. Group A comprised the present Dominion 
of India, while Groups B and C conceded the substance 
of West and hast Pakistan respectively; but all three 
Groups were to support a weak central authority. This 
"Grand Design" broke down, as many had done before, 
on detail — vital detail, certainly — but a significant warning 
for Lord Mountbattcn about the nature of the Indian 
deadlock and how to handle it. Lt seemed that the Indian 
approach was to start with an overall agreement and work 
steadily away from it; while the British approach was to 
tackle, the difficulties first and hope to be left with some 
common ground al the end. 

Unity had been our greatest legislative and administra- 
tive achievement in India, but by March 1947 the only 
alternatives were Pakistan or chaos. Lord Ismay likened 
the position to "taking charge of a ship in mid-ocean with 
a fire on the deck and ammunition in the hold". Lord 
Mountbatten discovered from personal discussions with 
the Leaders of the Moslem League that they would insist 
on partition at all costs and fight a civil war rather than 
accept transfer of power to a Hindu majority union, while 
Congress showed themselves as champions of unity, but 
not at the price of coercion. By the same token they in- 
sisted that no non-Moslem majority community should 
go against its will into Pakistan. Provided that was not 
done, they would raise no fundamental objection to parti- 
tion. After seventy-three days of diplomacy by discussion 
involving unparalleled concentration of will and intensity 
of effort on the part of Lord Mountbatlen, the 3rd June 
Plan was in principle accepted. 

The Plan had three main features. First, it was partition 
within partition. The Punjab and Bengal, the communal 
composition of which were almost equal, were given the 
right \p decide on their own partition prior to option for 
India or Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah, while stressing the tragedy 
of this step, was also unable to resist its logic. For some 



time there was possibility of Bengal separatism expressing 
itself, but this died away as the transfer of power drew 
near. As a result of this partition, West and East Pakistan 
were divided by some eight hundred miles. Secondly, it 
involved the partition ot the Sikhs; this, was the outcome 
of the partition or the Punjab, upon which the Sikh leaders 
insisted. Lord Mountbatten vvus surprised at the vehem- 
ence of their altitude, in view oi the price they would have 
to pay for it, but v\as given no practicable alternative by 

The third main feature was Dominion Status. This was 
a master-stroke on many grounds, but in particular be- 
cause it made possible the maximum administrative and 
constitutional continuity, on the basis of the great India 
Act of 1935. As 1 ord Mountbatten himself said shortly 
after his return to Fngland, *'l know ot no other country 
in the world to-day in the fortunate position of having a 
constitution that is already a working constitution, but 
which can be amended by a stroke of the pen day by day 
to be made to work more agreeably to themselves.*' 

So much for the Plan; let us turn now to some of the 
majoi consequences of the partition of British India. 

First of all it meant in erlect an administrative within a 
political transfer of power Action was at once taken to 
meet the demand for the partition ot the magnificent 
Indian Army. A Supreme Command gave higher direc- 
tion until its disbandment in November to this complex 
and delicate task. A Joint Defence Council meeting alter- 
nately in India and Pakistan, with Lord Mountbatten act- 
ing as chairman on behalf of both Governments, enabled 
steady contact on major military problems to be main- 
tained right up to 1 ord Mount hatten\s departure. It also 
provided a safety-valve at more than one moment of crisis 
for private consideration of all outstanding inter-Dominion 
disputes. A Partition Council was formed to deal with 
all civil issues, including transfer of assets and endless 
technicalities involved in partition. Finally an Arbitration 
Tribunal was appointed to give awards when agreement 



by other means had failed. Considering the range of the 
controversy involved, these instruments of partition work- 
ed with remarkable speed and administrative smoothness. 

Provision was made in the Act, on Mr. Jinnah's sug- 
gestion, for Lord Mountbatten to be Governor-General of 
both Dominions, and for some time it seemed as if this 
might be acceptable, but at the last moment Mr. Jinnah 
decided otherwise. No doubt he was in the best position 
to judge, but in so far as India held the majority of phy- 
sical assets, it was arguable that an interim joint Governor- 
Generalship might have been in the best interests of 

The second major consequence was, of course, the 
violent communal reaction in the Punjab, tn terms of 
the geography and population of Jndia as a whole, the 
troubles were concentrated into a limited but vital area 
for both countries. The people rose up against their 
leaders' acceptance of partition. In this communal irrup- 
tion twelve million Hindus, Sikhs and Moslems were in- 
volved, and migration of some nine million people began 
overnight in an area the sire of Wales. A far greater 
catastrophe was avoided only by an almost miraculous 
absence of large-scale famine and disease. J flew over 
columns of refugees stretching for more than sixty miles, 
creeping along narrow roads, the families carrying all their 
worldly goods in bullock-carts. There had been many 
communal migrations before, but never of this magnitude. 
Moreover, this time there would be no return. 

For Pakistan the immediate danger was to the key Pro- 
vince of the West Punjab. They were receiving impo- 
verished Moslems in place of wealthy Sikhs, for India 
the decisive threat was to Delhi, which was right in the 
epicentre of this earthquake. Before long some four 
hundred thousand refugees were moving on the capital, 
bringing in their wake suffering and bitterness. It was by 
her heroic efforts in organising relief for the refugees that 
Lady* Mountbatten made her name immortal in India. 
Her dynamic but human personality, combined with her 



unique Red Cross and St. John experience, helped greatly 
to build up the morale and improve the conditions of 
thousands in the crowded refugee camps. 

Within three weeks of Independence Day the Prime 
Minister. Pandit Nehru, and Deputy Prime Minister Patel, 
with great political courage, invited Lord Mountbatten, 
now constitutional Governor-General, to come down from 
£imla and take over the chairmanship ot the Emergency 
Committee of the Cabinet, ft assumed full war powers, 
and Government House itself became an operational head- 
quarters. The Cabinet would meet there each morning 
and go into a Map Room, where the movements of the 
refugees and outbreaks of disturbances were pin-pointed 
on wall charts. As the days went by, it became evident 
that the situation was being held along the boundary of 
the Fast Punjab and United Provinces through the firm 
action taken both by the Provincial and Central Govern- 
ments to halt refugee movement there. If the Govern- 
ment had shown weakness at that point, the trouble might 
well have spread across the whole of Northern India. 

It may be asked whether all possible precautions were 
taken to meet this crisis, or whether something was left 
undone. In trying to answer this question J would suggest 
that the followina considerations should be borne in mind. 

Once the Leaders had accepted Partition it became im- 
possible to maintain tor vei> long the Interim Congress- 
Moslem League Coalition Government in Delhi. It was 
only with the utmost dilhculty that this Government had 
been set up in lsH6 and held together subsequently. Ever 
since March the Punjab had been administered on an 
emergency basis under Section 93 of the Government of 
India Act; but it was quiie out of the question for the 
Central Government to function under that regulation as 
well. Alter ^rd June the Interim Government fell apart; 
each side wanted to take control of their respective so- 
vereign Stales, and they could have been deflected only 
at the cost of the overthrow of the Partition Plan. Transfer 
of power, in the last analysis, was an unconditional act. 



As a precaution against tiouble following upon the 
Award of Sir Cyril Radclilfe, who, with the agreement 
of both Governments, had been invited to draw the actual 
boundary lines for the Punjab. Bengal and Sylhct, there 
was the largest concentration of troops ever known in the 
Punjab In fact, a special Boundary force was set up in 
the area directly alTected. The task was found, however, 
to be quite beyond its resources, and by October command 
had to be handed back to thi two new Governments. 

In *he (iispersal of forces before 15th August, Independ- 
ence Day, provision had to be made to meet the hardly 
less tense situation in Bengal and Calcutta. But here a 
completely ditlerent "Third force" was to succeed in 
keeping the peace. Jt would have been impossible to have 
foreseen the miracle oi Gandhi's moral influence, and 
wanton to have relied upon it in advance of the event. 
I have heard an expert estimate that the situation in the 
Punjab could have been restored only with double the 
amount of troops in fact employed (which would have 
meant some eight divisions), and even then only on the 
assumption that they were all communally reliable. 

Then there was the form taken by the Sikh rising. The 
operations were mostly earned out by small groups with 
cleverly planned mobile attacks on trains and villages. It 
was, in iact, a rank-and-file jcvolt, and any action to 
arrest the wilder Sikh leaders -sciiously considered at the 
time, but rejected would have been more likely to have 
touched on" or intensified the disorder than to have brought 
it under control. The Punjab troubles must be regaided 
as a cataclysm, but in the context of India as a whole 
they were, in fact, limited to three per cent of the popula- 
tion, and were hardly comparable as a human tragedy to 
the Bengal iaminc ot 1943. finally it should be remem- 
bered that Partition did not cause the communal crisis, 
but that the communal-crisis was the cause oi Partition. 

One of the major consequences of Partition was its 
clfect on the position of the Indian Princely States. Hve 
hundred and sixty -five of them in all, ranging from Princes 



of States as large as European nations to landlords con- 
trolling a few thousand acres, they ruled over a third of 
the Indian sub-continent in area, and a quarter of it in 
population. They stood outside British India being in 
treaty relationship with Britain the Paramount Power. 
Thus the term Viceroy was a composite term covering the 
dual status and function of Governor-General of British 
India and Crown Representative of the Indian States. 
United, they might well have been a formidable factor in 
the situation, but when we arrived in India in March 1947 
we found the Princes distracted and fatally weakened by 
great internal dissensions. On 25th July, after prolonged 
efforts to achieve some unity of purpose among them. 
Lord Mountbatten spoke to them in the Chamber of 
Princes for the last time in his capacity as Crown Repre- 
sentative. He took the initiative in advising them all to 
accede to one or other of the two new Dominions as the 
effective successor Powers to the British Raj. 

The basic principle of Accession was that it was vested 
in the personal discretion of the Ruler, since he was an 
autocrat. But it was recognised that this discretion should 
be qualified by the geographical contiguity of the State 
to the successor Dominion, the communal composition of 
the State, and a plebiscite if necessary to ascertain the will 
of the people. Lord Mountbatten met with a remarkable 
measure of success, and all but three of the five hundred 
and sixty-five Stales had acceded by 14th August. They 
had recognised the force of his argument that voluntary 
mediatisation was their greatest chance of survival in a 
rapidly changing world; that the protection of British para- 
mountcy was no longer a practicable source of authority, 
but that, as constitutional rulers, they could make a vital 
contribution lo the political and social solidarity of the 
two new nations. 

The constructive statesmanship of Congress, and in 
particular of Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister, who 
became the first Minister in charge of relations with the 
States, must be acknowledged. For acceptance of the sur- 



vival of the Princes at all meant on the part of Congress 
a major reversal of long-established policy and avoidance 
of the temptation provided by an easy target. 

Accession was to be followed closely by the Merger 
policy. Several great Princely blocs were formed. Of 
special importance were the Unions of the States of Orissa, 
Malwa (which includes Gwalior and Jndore), Gujerat (in- 
volving a mosaic of some two hundred Princelings under 
the leadership of the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar), and the 
Phulkian Union of the leading Sikh Princes. One con- 
sequence of the settlement with the States was an approach 
suggested strongly by Mountbatten by the new Indian 
Government to individual Princes to undertake political 
and diplomatic duties outside their State boundaries. A 
ruling Prince was appointed Governor of Madras, and 
another became one of India's delegates to the United 
Nations. It has been a bloodless revolution and a political 
achievement of the first magnitude, largely lost sight of 
abroad on account of more lurid and dramatic news, 
among which must be counted events in those three States 
who failed to accede by 15th August. 

There was first of all the case of Junagadh. This was 
not of primary importance in itself, but significant for the 
precedents it set. Junagadh was a small Stale of some 
five thousand square miles, whh a Moslem ruler who 
finally acceded to Pakistan. By his action the twin princi- 
ples of geographical contiguity and communal majority 
inherent in Accession were both violated. After various 
complicated negotiations, India took over the State, and a 
plebiscite confirmed popular acceptance of this action, 

Junagadh was a mere curtain-raiser to the complex pro- 
blem posed by the delayed accession of Kashmir. Lord 
Mountbatten himself had visited Kashmir in June, and 
armed with an assurance from Sardar Pat el on the Indian 
side, strongly advised that any decision taken prior to 
15th August would be acceptable to both successor Stales. 
The Maharaja, however, chose to ignore this opportunity, 
and only acceded to India on 26th October, when con- 



fronted by large-scale tribal invasion coming largely from 
the North-west Frontier Province of Pakistan. Here was 
a Hindu ruler with a Stale geographically continguous to 
both Dominions and the majority of his subjects Moslem. 
Kashmir's accession was rendered more complicated still 
by further special factors. 

There was a powerful Kashmir States Congress move- 
ment led by Sheikh Abdullah, a Moslem Congressman of 
forceful personality and national status in India. More- 
over, Nehru, himself descended from Kashmiri Brahmins, 
and Sheikh Abdullah are not only political colleagues, 
but also close personal friends. 

But from the military viewpoint Kashmir is an atea of 
great strategic importance to both countries. Pakistan has 
inherited the burden of the North-west Frontier, and a 
major conflict of interest between the two Governments 
along this line could gravely undermine the security — al- 
ready strained by the partition of the Indian Army — of 
the entire sub-continent. It was soon clear that the Kash- 
mir commitment would involve a dangerous drain of man- 
power and money and a distraction of effort going beyond 
the margin of safety or the dictates of prudence. For 
India in particular it means the deployment of her military 
strength to the maximum disadvantage along tenuotis* 
lines of communication and on a front where superiority 
of numbers and armour can rarely be exploited. 

Finally there was the appeal to the United Nations by 
India at the peak of the crisis in December 1947, which 
has given the dispute an international status. There is no 
easy solution to Kashmir. In one sense it symbolises the 
general clash of sentiment and interest which made Parti- 
tion inevitable. It may well be that there was inherent in 
any settlement of the general Congress- Moslem League 
conflict one outstanding and insoluble dispute. When the 
formula was the Cabinet Mission Plan, it was Assam; in 
the spring of 1947, it seemed, from the emphasis placed 
upon it by both Gandhi and Jinnah, that it would be the 
North-west Frontier Province. A turn of the wheel, and 



the clash might well have centred round Bengal or Cal- 
cutta. Moreover, both sides arc sustained by fervent and 
not unfounded belief in the strength of their cause — 
Pakistan relying more on natural justice and economic 
necessity, and India more on legal right and political 

The third and perhaps most important State of all to 
stand outside Accession was Hyderabad. This, too, was 
p. special case, with a Moslem Prince (direct descendant 
of the Moghul Emperor's Viceroy) and a small Moslem 
oligarchy as the governing caste; the Slate geographically 
in the heart of India, and the subjects eighty-six per cent 
Hindu. In view of the Nizam's special status. Lord 
Mountbatten, although now a constitutional Governor- 
General, was empowered to carry on negotiations for a 
Standstill Agreement with him beyond 14th August. But 
perhaps because of developments in Junagadh and Kash- 
mir, or of expectations of support from opinion abroad, 
or from some inner compulsion, the Ni/am tried to stall 
and play for time. 

At the end of October a duly accredited delegation, 
including his Prime Minister and his constitutional ad- 
viser, Sir Walter Monckton, accepted the substance of a 
Standstill Agreement and returned to Hyderabad to re- 
commend the Nizam's signature. His Legislative Council 
formally approved. The Nizam then excused himself from 
signing for a few hours, during which lime members of 
the delegation, due to return to Delhi, were surrounded 
at their homes and subjected to physical intimidation by 
the Moslem extremist party, the Jttehad-ul-Muslimeen. 
When they saw the Nizam in the morning, they found that 
he had changed his mind, and they duly resigned. The 
Nizam, in the knowledge that he had already secured the 
maximum concessions from the Government of Jfidia, then 
blandly appointed a new delegation consisting entirely of 
ltteha.d members. 

After this bizarre episode it argues much for Lord 
Mountbatten's diplomatic resource that he was able to 



keep the negotiations alive at all. But he prevailed upon 
the Government of India to receive the new delegation, 
making it clear that he would not support the change of 
a single comma, and in November it reported back to the 
Nizam with precisely the same terms as before. This time 
he signed. He had gained a month's respite, but lost much 
of the Government ot India's essential confidence in the 

There followed moral and physical violations of the 
Standstill Agreement, which was valid for a year pending 
a final settlement. Hyderabad sponsored various acts to 
display her status as an independent nation. A loan was 
offered to Pakistan, and State Congress leaders wejfe im- 
prisoned without trial. But most provocative was the 
activity of Kasim Ra/vi, head of the Ittehad-ul-Muslimcen 
Party and of the Ra/akars, embryo storm-troopers. 1 met 
Ra/vi when I visited the Ni/am on Lord Mountbatten\ 
behalf in May 1948. I can only describe him as expressing 
the most violent race hatred 1 had encountered in anyone 
since a meeting \ had with Forster, the Dan/ig Na/i, just 
before the war. 

On the Indian side there was an undoubted blockade 
of the State, which included the stopping even of medical 
supplies. Most of this obstruction seemed to be organised 
at Provincial levels; but while the Central Government did 
not authorise it, neither did they succeed in bringing it 
ettectivelv to an end. 1 hen there was Communist inter- 
vention, which was designed to embarrass and confuse 
both sides. 

Britain never recognised Hyderabad's title to independ- 
ence, and in a faniotis letter to the present Ni/am in 1926, 
Lord Reading laid down that Britain's relationship was 
one ot undoubted Paramountcy. It was unreasonable to 
expect that the successor Power, consisting of Hyderabad's 
kith and kin, should now concede what the British Raj 
had so consistently refused. Right up to the eve of his 
departure »t seemed that Lord Mountbatten might find a 
tormula to cover Hydciabad's final relations with India, 



but unhappily it was not to be. Three months after he 
left, a military demonstration and occupation was provided 
to clinch the argument. 

Some of the Indian diplomacy on the spot was un- 
doubtedly clumsy, and the presentation of their case 
throughout was generally deplorable. India has been 
severely criticised for forcing the pace, but it has to be 
remembered that in giving the Nizam more time they 
would also have been allowing Razvi and his fanatical 
movement fresh scope. Indian intervention effectively 
checked the spread of communal violence and has insured 
political consolidation throughout South India. 

The Nizam, with his love of diplomatic finesse, left him- 
self just enough margin to save his dynasty. As the leading 
Prince in India, his great mistake had been retirement 
into his State as a result of the clash with Lord Reading 
in 1926, and complete withdrawal from central affairs 
thereafter. From his isolation he failed in 1947 to recog- 
nise the meaning of Partition, which inevitably involved 
the setting up of two strong Central Governments instead 
of one weak one. 

The transfer of power was an unique response essential- 
ly to a revolutionary situation. It is usual for revolutions 
to get out of control and defy the calculations of those 
who lead them. Perhaps Lord Mountbatlen's greatest 
achievement lay in producing a solution which had about 
it sufficient substance and support to survive the storm 
of the immediate revolutionary crisis and to maintain in 
spite of Partition the vital links between the past and the 

The shock of change was intensified by the deaths, so 
soon after the transfer of power, of the two great national 
leaders, Gandhi and Jinnah. I cannot presume to assess 
the full measure of Gandhi's moral and spiritual stature, 
but his political power and personal magnetism, judging 
by the devotion he aroused in millions from one end of 
the sub-continent to the other, can have had few preced- 
ents in history. He had an amazing instinct for the mass 



propagation of ideas, reinforced by the direct contacts 
which he assiduously encouraged through his Prayer Meet- 
ings and vast correspondence with people in all walks 
of life. 

Jinnah, on the other hand, derived his authority from 
remote control. He made no concessions to the masses 
and had no contact with them. He combined tactical sup- 
pleness and capacity to profit from his opponents* mistakes 
with an iron will and the maintenance of the single ob- 
jective. He was a unique phenomenon, in that he con- 
ceived of Pakistan at the age of sixty and realised it at 
seventy. Like Gandhi, he was steeped in the idiom and 
outlook of British law, but had virtually no interest in 
or understanding of the administration of government. 

Fortunately for both countries, Jawaharlal Nehru in 
India and Liaquat Ali Khan in Pakistan are statesmen 
of the first rank by any standards of comparison, whether 
in the Lastern or Western world. They lead middle-of- 
the-road and middle-aged Governments, which are called 
upon to undertake i airly late in life a major reorientation 
ol ideas now that the two ba^ic opponents of the Congress 
and the Moslem League have disappeared from the arena 
For the British helped to keep the Congress together, and 
the Congress the Moslem League. 

Inside India the Congress is assailed both from the right 
and left. During Lord Mountbattcifs lime the Maha- 
sabha~-the Hindu communal counterpart of the Moslem 
League, with aspirations to emulate and counteract tlv 
Moslem 1 eague's political success -wa^ always active, but 
was unable it's canalise Hindu resentment at Partition sulli- 
ciently to thwait llje 3rd June Plan. Subsequently the 
Mahasabha suffered a serious setback as the result of its 
suspected complicity in Gandhi's assassination; but. foi 
all that, it remained a formidable force. 

The Socialists, under the leadership of Jai Prakash 
Narain, lost valuable time and opportunity in making up 
their minds whether to bid for office as a ginger group 
within the Congress or to reinvigorate the Legislative As- 



sembly by constructive Parliamentary Opposition. By 
wavering they simply provided fresh openings for the Com- 
munists, who under the war-time "Grand Alliance" had 
been left free to co-operate with the British Raj, while 
the Congress High Command languished in gaol. The 
Partition decision, however, and in particular the force 
of communal sentiment in Bengal, came as a blow to the 
Communists, who had concentrated most of their efTort 
in the industrial slums of Calcutta, and had directed their 
propaganda strongly against the division of India. 

Alter the transfer of power, Communist effort seemed 
to move from Bengal to the South. There was a big con- 
ference of Communists from South-east Asia under Indian 
leadership early in 1948, in which there were signs of the 
usual deviationist troubles. Communism is likely to pro- 
vide a dangerous threat to the Congress just so long as 
there is extensive misery to exploit. 

While Pakistan has derived its inspiration from provid- 
ing a Moslem homeland, the Indian Union has aimed at 
creating loyalty to a secular democracy. With some forty 
million Moslems left after Partition on the Indian side of 
the border, not to mention eight million Christians, six 
million Sikhs and other smaller communities, India is cer- 
tainly something more than a Hindu State. Gandhi him- 
self was to become a martyr in the cause of Hindu-Moslem 

The Indian constitution, which was under active pre- 
paration and discussion during Lord Mountbatten's term 
of office, is a synthesis of the great Western charters of 
liberty. The obvious hiatus between the vision of this 
document and the realities of Indian life does not destroy 
the validity of the vision. It represents a great tribute to 
the liberalising influence of British thought, and is a funda- 
mental attack upon the aims and aspirations , of com- 
munalism. The [ndian constitution offers fresh hope for 
the eighty million Untouchables, who under purely Hindu 
dogma were pariahs polluting food with their shadow, 
but* are now Indian citi/ens with equal rights before the 


law. It is significant that one of the principal personalities 
in Nehru's Government, and as such a prominent person- 
ality in the preparation and sponsorship of the Constitu- 
tion, is Dr. Ambedkar, the well-known leader of the 

Economically, Pakistan, in spite of the initial disasters, 
quickly showed herself to be a viable State with the sup- 
reme asset of a solvent agricultural economy. There was 
a surplus both of food and jute in the first Pakistan budget. 
India, however, was soon suffering from inflation, and, 
in response to the Gandhian ethic, rather than on grounds 
of strict economic justification, from the altogether too 
rapid removal of controls over basic commodities. The 
controls had to be clamped on again, but the operation 
was difficult and the damage had been done. 

It is perhaps in the psychological field that the greatest 
revolution of all has occurred. Jn advance of any final 
definitions of Commonwealth membership, Indo-British 
relations under Lord Mountbatten's imaginative leadership 
had already improved beyond all expectations. Those of 
us who took part in the Independence celebrations were 
eye-witnesses of what must surely be one of the greatest 
reconciliations of history. Subordinate status had become 
as hateful to bear as to impose. 

Both Britain and India, as Nehru pointed out, are es- 
sentially Mother civilisations. We are now friends and 
equals, and we would be worse than fools if we ever allow- 
ed estrangement to creep in again. For the implications 
of this upsurge of good-will reach out beyond the reckon- 
ings of our own day and age. It is a transformation that 
augurs well for the future progress and solidarity of the 

Part I 


niAPriR ONr 


i on don, Thursday, 19th December, 1946 
I CALLin fariy on Mountbatteii at his home in Chester 
Street, and arrived in time for the customary Mountbatten 
breakfast last-minute dictation, toast and tea all com- 
peting for the services of his mouth. As usual, the meal 
came nfT second best. He had asked ine to go round and 
see him about his South-east Asia Command Despatches. 
As erstwhile Recorder and keeper of his War Diaries 
throughout his lour of duty as Supreme Commander, I 
retain an almost e\ officio, now no more than honorary, 
interest in these Despatches. There are many teething 
troubles in theii production, not the least of which is to 
fit them into his crowded agenda. As our business was 
not finished and time pressed, thcic was, as usual, no 
alternative but to accompany him to his next appointment 
—a sitting for an official portrait Oswald Birley is paint- 
ing of him. 

When we got into (he car he pulled up all the windows, 
swore me to the utmost secrecy and whispered that what 
he was about to tell me was known to no one outside his 
own family. Mr Attlee, he said, had called for him the 
picvious evening and invited him to succeed Lord Wavcll 
as Viceroy of India Although 1 had become accustomed 
to associate him with surprises, i was wholly unprepared 
for this denouement All was fairly set tor him to lulfil 
his long-thwarted personal ambition of resuming his career 
in the Navy. His refresher course was in lull swing. He 
was to be Rear-Admiral commanding the First Cruiser 
Squadron with effect from April 1947. Moreover, the re- 
cent conference in London between the Indian Leaders, 
Lord Wavell and the British Government, while giving 
no grounds for any easy optimism, seemed to intply that 
the Cabinet Mission Plan was still in being. 



From what I now heard, the Prime Minister had put 
a very different complexion both on India's and Mount- 
batten's future. Mr. Attlee had begun the interview by 
asking Mountbattcn whether his heart was really set on 
going to sea. He replied that it certainly was. By being 
put back into circulation with his own Service, his whole 
Naval career was being saved. He added that he had 
been both surprised and touched at the number of letters 
he had received from his friends in the Navy expressing 
their pleasure that he was going back to sea again. 

Attlee then switched the conversation to the Indian 
crisis. Wavcll, he said, had come back with nothing more 
constructive than a military evacuation plan. The Govern- 
ment was most unfavourably impressed with the political 
trends affecting both the Congress and the Moslem League. 
If we were not very careful, we might well find ourselves 
handing India over not simply to civil war, but to political 
movements of a definitely totalitarian character. Urgent 
action was needed to break the deadlock, and the principal 
members of the Cabinet had reached the conclusion that 
a new personal approach was perhaps the only hope. They 
had looked round in every direction for a suitable man 
to make it, and had unanimously agreed that it was Mount- 
batten alone who had the personality and qualifications 

At this point Mountbatten intervened to say he must at 
once make it clear, from what he had seen of the Indian 
situation when he was Supreme Commander and from his 
many talks with Wavell, that he had entirely agreed with 
WavelFs policy up to his last talk in Delhi in June. There 
was nothing that V^avell had done throughout that time 
which he would not have done himself. Attlee agreed 
that fundamentally it was not WaveH's general policy in 
the past that was in question, but its implementation to- 
day. The hard fact was that in spite of his unremitting 
efforts it had largely broken down, and Attlee reiterated 



that in this new situation the problem was now more one 
of personality. The need for closer personal contacts with 
the Indian Leaders was paramount. 

Mountbatten told me that he put up a stiff fight against 
the Prime Minister's pressure and blandishments, stressing 
his extreme tiredness, and the folly of wearing him out 
too young and of diverting him from his Service career, 
where perhaps his most likely usefulness to the State lay. 
Were there no other names? What about Auchinlcck, 
who was immensely popular in India? The interview end- 
ed, it seems, on a note of indecision. Mountbatten wished 
to know just what Government policy he would be requir- 
ed to implement, and he told me that before making any 
answec he must in any case consult the King, since a 
Viceroy was not only theoretically his servant and nomi- 
nee, but, as far as the Indian Princes were concerned, his 

He asked what my reaction was to this bombshell. I 
could only reply that the Prime Minister, for his part, 
had shown considerable psychological insight and made 
a sound appraisal of his personal qualifications; but that 
he on his side could not reasonably be asked to take on 
such an explosive commitment without the clearest direc- 
tive. Mountbatten then said it was quite clear to him 
that there would have to be the earliest time limit for the 
transfer of power if his mission \\as not to be hopelessly 
compromised with Indian opinion irom the outset. As 
for the British reaction, he felt that if he agreed to go there 
would be considerable public sympathy for him in taking 
on the job at all, and popular support would probably 
back him up in whatever measures he saw fit to take. He 
was ready to run any risk, but did not in fact think that 
the traditional risk of his being made the scapegoat was 

I am afraid that when we got to Birley's studio, and 
the time came to study the forceful but unfinished portrait, 
my mind was on other things. 



London, Friday, 20th December, J 946 
My wife and T attended the British Government's Re- 
ception at Lancaster House in honour of Pridi Panom- 
yong, the Senior Statesman of Siam, who had combined 
the roles of Regent and resistance leader during the war. 

Mountbatten arrived at the party rather late. On seeing 
mc there he signalled me into a quiet corner and showed 
me his reply to the Prime Minister's offer. It was quite 
brief; hut, while appreciating the honour, he had begged 
to be excused unless he was able to go at the express in- 
vitation of the Indian Leaders. 1 must say I think it is 
extremely unlikely that Altlee will be able or willing to 
comply with this condition, so this may well be the last 
we shall hear ol the whole proposal. He said he was 
going straight from the party to Downing Street. 

I on don, Wednesday, 1 5th January, J 947 
Mountbattcn's acceptance of the Viceroyalty is at last 
firm. His early talks with the Prime Minister were in- 
conclusive. Government policy accepted the principle of 
a time limit, but havered over the exact date. The second 
half of 1948 was suggested, but Mountbattcn's conviction 
haidcned that political success was bound up with the 
Government's readiness lo accept the earliest possible dale 
of British departure from India, and he at once bid for 
"second half" to mean June rather than December. With 
the Christmas week at hand, final decisions were held 
over, and Mountbatten took himself and his family away 
for a brief holiday at Davos. He had not been there 
forty-eight hours when he was urgently summoned to Lon- 
don, and a special aircraft sent to bring him back. This 
move was calculated to arouse considerable Press specula- 
lion, but its meaning was missed. 

Mountbatten was recalled because ihe news from India 
was increasingly serious. The communal deadlock and 
violence persisted. The Government wished to announce 
a new policy and a new Viceroy as quickly as possible. 
After close consideration of the terms of this draft an- 



nouncement, and in particular the incorporation of a phrase 
to indicate that his Naval career will not be prejudiced, 
Mountbatlen has finally agreed in principle to take on the 
job. He wenfr so far, he told me, as to insist that the First 
Lord and First Sea Lord should associate themselves with 
the Prime Minister in guaranteeing his return to the Navy. 
The knowledge that the King was strongly in favour of 
his undertaking the task helped to confirm his decision. 
In his discussions with the Government he warned them 
of the danger of giving any impression that his appoint- 
ment was designed to perpetuate the Viceregal system or 
to impose British arbitration. This was his reason for 
making his acceptance in the first instance conditional upon 
his receiving an open invitation from the Indian parties to 
go in a capacity defined by themselves. Mr. Attlee ex- 
plained in detail, however, that this last condition was 
not feasible, but he fully accepted the principle of termi- 
nating the British Raj by a specific date regardless of 
agreement or earlier than the time limit if the Indian 
parties were able beforehand to agree on a constitution 
and form a Government. 

His Majesty's Government has shown itself prepared 
to go to very great lengths to secure Mountbatten's ac- 
ceptance. Sir Stafford Cripps offered to provide the neces- 
sary liaison in advance between the Indian I caders and 
the new Viceroy, and to do his utmost to ensure that the 
appointment was in fact acceptable to them before it was 
officially announced. Cripps went so far as to offer to 
serve in any capacity, even to the point of accompanying 
Mountbatten to India. This ofTer was not unnaturally 
shelved, as Cripps' status and experience in Indian affairs 
would have prejudiced Mountbatten's position and made 
it virtually impossible ior a new Viceroy to carry on nego- 
tiations with the necessary authority or prestige, 

London, Ihurschix, 2()th lehtuary, 1947 
1 once more called on Mountbatten at Chester Street, 
this time to see him about India and give a firm and final 
M.M— 2 



"yes" to his invitation to join his staff as Press attache. 

We have heard that Attlee's statement in the House of 
Commons has been the occasion of a lively scene and 
that Churchill seemed bent on making po^ieal capital 
out of Mount batten's appointment and the policy under- 
lying it. 

The new Viceroy was given a very wide mandate. If 
there was no likelihood of a unitary constitution emerging 
from a fully representative Constituent Assembly by June 
l l M8, then, said Mr. Attlee, tht British Government would 
"have to consider to whom the powers of the central 
Government in British India should he handed over, on 
the due date, whether as a whole to some form ot central 
Government for British India, or in some areas to the 
existing Provincial Governments, or in such other way 
as may seem most reasonable and in the best interests ol 
the Indian people" As for the Princely States, the Prime 
Minister made it clear that the Government did not intend 
to hand over their powers and obligations under Para- 
mountcy to any successor Government of British India 
While Paramountcy was to be retained until power was 
actually transferred, 4 it is contemplated that lor the in- 
tervening period the relations of the Crown with individual 
States may be adjusted by agreement." 

Churchill at once jumped up to ask a number of barbed 
questions about the reasons for WavelPs removal. It must 
be confessed that Attlee's reference to Wavell had been 
sufficiently cold and perfunctory to provide Churchill with 
this particular opening. The time limit also came as a 
considerable emotional jolt to the Conservative Opposi- 
tion. What threatened to be a major show-down, how- 
ever, petered out tfirough the House of Commons' time- 
honoured technique of passing on to other business. 



lonixw, Wednesday, 26th February, 1947 
The-: grkai two-day Debate in the House of Lords has 
ended with Lord Templewood withdrawing his motion of 
virtual censure on the Government for its announcement 
of 20th February. This was one of the occasions when 
the opinions of the House of Lords were not unjustifiably 
regarded by many as carrying greater political weight than 
thost of the Commons. In the first place, in as far as the 
Lords were discussing the new situation in advance of 
the forthcoming Commons Debate, it was appreciated that 
the final attitude of the Conservative Opposition might 
well depend upon the tone set by their Lordships. More- 
over, they were debating not so much in their hereditary 
capacity, as in the role of elder statesmen, specialists and 

A galaxy of names famous in the annals of Indian ad- 
ministration for over a quarter of a century addressed 
themselves to Lord Templewood \s stern declaration that 
the time limit was a breach of faith imperilling the peace 
and prosperity of India. Coming from Lord Temple- 
wood, who, as Secretary of State while still known as 
Sir Samuel Hoare, had spent the better part of seven 
years in steering through the great Government of India 
Act of 1935 against the most violent and sustained op- 
position of Mr. Churchill and the Conservative right wing, 
this motion was indeed a formidable challenge to the 
Government, and if widely supported calculated to render 
a united national approach to Indian Independence im- 
possible. By the time Lord Lislowel had wound up the 




first day's Debate for the Government there seemed very 
little prospect of avoiding a division and a defeat. 

This danger loomed larger to-day, when Lord Simon, 
of Simon Commission fame, resumed for the Opposition. 
He spoke for just over an hour. It was an essay in closely 
reasoned negation and foreboding. The accumulated 
burden of the Government's problems was enough to break 
down the deliberate considerations of any man or body 
of men. "However, I am bound to siy,'" he concluded, 
,fc thal I sadly fear that the end of this business is not going 
to be the establishment ol peace in India, but rather that 
it is going to degrade the British name." 

After yet another highly critical speech, this time by 
Lord Trenchard, 1 ord Halifax- the only ex-Viceroy tak- 
ing part in the Debate rose to make his last great decisive 
intervention in Indian airairs. Reaching out far beyond 
the confines of parly faith or discipline, he declared :- 

"With such knowledge as I have, I am not prepared to 
say that whatever else may be light or wrong, this step 
must on all counts certainly be judged to be wrong . . . 
for the truth is that for India to-day there is no solution 
that is not fraught with the gravest objection, with the 
gravest danger. And the conclusion that I reach - with 
all that can be said against it is that J am not prepared 
to condemn what His Majesty's Government are doing 
unless 1 can honestly and confidently recommend a better 
solution. ... I should be sorry if the only message from 
the House to India at this moment was one of condemna- 
tion, based on what I must fully recognise are very natural 
feelings of failure, frustration and foreboding." 

Lord Samuel told me afterwards that it was the most 
persuasive speech he had ever heard delivered in the House 
of Lords, and that its impact was such that many Con- 
servative Peers who, belore he rose, had firmly decided 
to vote against the Government, changed their minds while 
he was speaking and fell in with his appeal to Temple- 



wood "to spare the House the necessity of going to a 
Division". The rest of the Debate was an anti-climax. 
The tide of opinion had turned, and Templewood, while 
maintaining his criticisms, duly withdrew his motion. 

K)NIX)N, Wednesday, 5//; March, J947 
Although the opening of the two-day Debate in ihe 
House of Commons was obviously a great Parliamentary 
occasion, I could not help feeling, when I saw Cripps rise 
to expound the Government's case with his accustomed 
poise and lucidity, that the key battle tor the new policy 
had already been won in the Lords. Cripps* speeches are 
always so closely reasoned and beautifully arranged that 
the emotional temperature almost immediately drops when 
he speaks. He would never dream of appealing to your 
heart without first trying to persuade your mind. But on 
this occasion J detected a deeper note ol passionate con- 
viction than usual. 

Already Cripps' contribution to India's forthcoming In- 
dependence was assured of its place in history. As Lord 
Halifax had pointed out, the Cripps' Mission of 1942 was 
the decisive act from which there could be no turning 
back. In 1946 he was the dominating figure of the Cabinet 
Mission In both negotiations he had been on the verge 
of complete agreement and unqualified success, only to 
sec his efforts thwarted at the last minute. In proposing 
the Government's new approach, he must have known 
that he was in fact confirming the effective eclipse of his 
own elaborate master plan to translcr power to a united 

He was at pains 10 stress that it was administratively and 
militarily out ol the question to stay on beyond 1948. 
Otherwise he laid no special emphasis on the time limit, 
and he made no relerence whatever to Lord Wavell. This 
last omission was undoubtedly a pity, as it tended to con- 
firm the ill-disposed gossip about serious differences of 
opinion between the Government and the returning Vice- 
roy. Cripps throughout did his utmost to leave the door 



open for a revised Cabinet Mission Plan. "Now is tfte 
time," he said in his final peroration, "when the wider 
good of all India, throughout which both communities are 
widely dispersed, must take precedence over the narrower 
claims of single communities or single parts of that great 
continental area." 

Sir John Anderson moved a detailed amendment on 
behalf of the Conservative Opposition, which he support- 
ed with a ponderous oration. The formula was in effect 
an elaborate attempt on Sir John's part to reconcile what 
Lord Halifax had said last week with what Mr. Churchill 
was likely to say to-morrow. But this was a formidable 
task even for one of Anderson's drafting calibre. As was 
perhaps to be expected, he largely confined himself to an 
exhaustive condemnation of the Government's time-limit 
proposal. Under cover of a dense dialectical smoke-screen 
he worked his way towards a position of proposing a final 
date for an agreed central authority, failing which the 
Government should resume freedom of action to transfer 
power to convenient separate authorities "as speedily as 
possible". Anderson is a disappointing Parliamentarian. 
This aspect of his career has been superimposed upon too 
many other distinctions too late in life. The result is a 
pomposity of manner and a heaviness of expression which 
weaken both his arguments and influence in the House. 

The more persuasive performances to-day came from 
back-benchers speaking from their uwn experience, some- 
times against the party line. Perhaps the most original 
suggestion under this heading was put forward by the 
Socialist "rebel" Zilliacus, who saw India as the classic 
problem of natiorfal minorities who are distrustful at being 
left to the tender mercies of the majority. Jn this instance, 
however, the Moslem community was more than a national 
minority, but somewhat less than an independent nation. 
He cited the example of the U.S.S.R, to suggest that India 
should enjoy multi-national membership of the United 
Nations, which would enable the Moslems to have the 



same status as the Ukraine and become a separate 

London, Thursday, 6th March, 1947 

When Churchill resumed the Debate to-day we were 
regaled with the Jong-awaited firework display. Over the 
years Churchill has remained very loyal to his pei aver- 
sions, and what may perhaps best be termed his Indian 
invective proclaims probably the most rigid and unbend- 
ing of all his opinions upon the public issues of our time. 

He started oil" by taking his stand on ihe Cripps' Mission 
of 1942. Although the oiler had not been accepted at 
the time, both sides of the House were still bound by it. 
He denounced the present plan as involving grave depar- 
tures from the "scope and integrity" of its principles. 
There was at last a reference in this debate to Wavcll, but 
it was far from cordial. " The Viceroy, Lord Wavell, has 
been dismissed. I hold no brief for Lord Wavell. He 
has been the willing or unwilling agent of the Government 
in all the errors and mistakes into which they have been 
led." But he continued to assert that he did not know 
why Wavell had been cast aside at this juncture, and to 
press for a personal statement from him on his return. 

As for the new Viceroy, "Is he to make a new effort 
to restore the situation, or is it merely Operation Scuttle 
on which he and other distinguished officers have been 
despatched?. . . I am bound to say the whole thing wears 
the aspect of an attempt by the Government to make use 
of brilliant war figures in order to cover up a melancholy 
and disastrous transaction." 

He then entered the field of prophecy. "India is to be 
subjected not merely to partition, but to fragmentation 
and to haphazard fragmentation." The time limit, far 
from bringing the Indian parties to their senses,' was cal- 
culated to make them step up their demands. These 
parlies' claims to represent the Indian masses were fictiti- 
ous: "In handing over the Government of India to these 
so-called political classes, we are handing over to men of 



straw of whom in a few years no trace will remain. This 
Government by their latest action, this fifteen months* 
limitation, cripple the new Viceroy and destroy the pros- 
pect of even going through the business on the agenda 
which has to be settled." 

He found wholly incomprehensible the time limit for 
India but the lack of it for Palestine. Could the House 
believe that there were three or four times as many British 
troops in little petty Palestine as in mighty India at the 
present time? He could find no sense in this distribution 
of our forces. His only positive proposals were that this 
ratio should be reversed and — a typical Churchillian sur- 
prise — that Zilliacus' suggestion should be taken up and 
the problem of the Moslem minority submitted to the 
United Nations. And so to the funereal conclusion. "Many 
have defended Britain against her foes, none can defend 
her against herself. . . . But, at least, let us not add- 
by shameful flight, by a premature hurried scuttle — at 
least, let us not add to the pangs of sorrow so many of us 
feel, the taint and smear of shame." 

When Attlee rose at last from the Treasury Bench there 
was an air of expectancy which had somehow been mis- 
sing before. Indeed, one of the things which surprised me 
while Cripps was speaking yesterday was the thinness of 
the Labour ranks. After Question Time they had troop- 
ed out, not to return again en bloc until the Prime Minister 
brought the Debate to a close the following evening. He 
certainly did nol disappoint them. Although I have often 
listened to Attlee on various themes, I his. is the first time 
1 have heard him on India, which is undoubtedly his spe- 
cial subject. His fwo years service as a member of the 
Simon Commission was clearly one of the most formative 
experiences of his life, and historically speaking probably 
the most important thing about the Simon Commission. 
Those who are interested in working out the contrast be- 
tween Churchill and Attlee should not overlook the Indian 



On this occasion Attlee brought to bear on his famous 
adversary a debating armament of a calibre which 1 for 
one had no idea he possessed. He put aside his notes, 
spoke straight from the heart, and the result was a genuine 
eloquence. His style did not change, but he simply ceased 
to be commonplace. This man burns with a hidden fire 
and is sustained by a certain spiritual integrity which en- 
ables him to scale the heights when the great occasion 
demands. Churchill was raked with delicate irony. Jt 
was close in-fighting, which is sometimes lost upon the 
general public, but which scores points with the judges 
and wins bouts in the Parliamentary ring. 

Attlee firmly rebutted the doctrine that Wavell was 
under* some necessity to make a personal statement on 
his return; "to put it colloquially, if a change of bowling 
is desire\l it is not always necessary that there should be 
an elaborate explanation". As for the attack on the ad- 
mission of the Indian politicians into the Government and 
the desire to continue with the caretaker administration 
"the essence of the Indian problem is to get Indian states- 
men to understand what aie the real problems they have 
to face. ... A very grave fault ot the reforms that we- 
have carried out over these years is that we have taught 
irresponsibility instead of responsibility. All Indian poli- 
ticians were permanently in opposition, and speaking with 
long experience, it is not good to be always in opposition. ,v 

He then turned to our responsibilities to the minorities. 
Here he made the shrewd point that in so far as the ex- 
istence of the scheduled castes (Untouchables) and their 
position was part of the whole Hindu social system, the 
British Raj had lacked not the will but the power to 
raise these people. With one or two special exceptions, 
our policy had been to accept the social and economic 
system we had found. "Why are we told now,", he ask- 
ed, "at the very end of our rule, that we must clear up 
all these things before we go, otherwise we shall betray 
our trust? If that trust is there, it ought to have been 
fulfilled long ago." Essentially the dangers of delay, the 


dangers of hanging on, were as great as the dangers of 
going forward. He concluded by saying he was sure the 
whole House would wish "Godspeed" to the new Viceroy 
in his great mission. "It is a mission, not, as has been 
suggested, of betrayal on our part, it is a mission of ful- 

The Prime Minister's speech, and in particular his per- 
oration, roused his back-bench supporters, who normally 
display a somewhat •parochial and passive attitude towards 
India, to a high pitch of enthusiasm. When the House 
divided, the vote was three hundred and thirty-seven in 
favour of the Government's policy and our mission, and 
one hundred and eighty-five against. Although Mr. Attlee's 
appeal that there should be a united message of, good- 
will from the House to the Indian Leaders and people 
had failed to prevent a Division on strictly Party lines, 
one could not help coming away from this historic Debate 
with the sense that the gulf between Government and 
Opposition was far narrower than some of Mr. Churchill's 
more sombre polemics might suggest. 

iondon. Monday, 10th March, 1947 
in general, it can be said that Mountbalten, in briefing 
himself lor the political tusk that lies ahead of him, is 
starting from scratch. But he has, of course, visited India 
before, first as an A D.C. to the Prince of Wales on his 
tour in l l >21. Then, between October 1*M3 and Apul 
1 Q 44, New Delhi was his headquarters as Supreme Allied 
Commander, but this post had been formed for the ex- 
press purpose ol separating the responsibilit\ lor the 
prosecution of the war in South-east Asia from that ot 
the internal defence and security of India and its admini- 
stration as a base. Mof cover, although the scope of his 
duties ranged beyond strictly military operations, his para- 
political interests did not include India. He used to see 
a lot of Lord Wavell, and officially the Viceroy's relation- 
ship to him as Supreme Commander was that of Minister 
of Stale appointed with a special directive to advise and 



represent the Government, the exact equivalent post estab- 
lished in the Middle Past theatre of war. 

Towards the end of his time in South-east Asia Com- 
mand, Mountbatlen had his first meeting with Jawaharlal 
Nehru, on the occasion of Nehru's visit to Malaya, at 
the suggestion of Lord Wavcll, to see the large Indian 
minority there. It was a most successful and happy en- 
counter. I was present on the occasion of it, and it was 
quite clear that the two men made a deep personal im- 
pression upon each other. 

From the moment his appointment was announced, 
Mountbatlen has been caught up in a hectic sequence of 
meetings and interviews. He has seen the King, whose 
constitutional position is vitally affected, and has been in 
almost regular session with the India-Burma Committee 
of the Cabinet, which includes Atllee, Cripps, Alexander 
and Pethick-Lawrence and is concerned with the detailed 
elaboration and control of the Government's Indian policy. 
There have also been detailed discussions with the Chiefs 
of Staff and India Office experts. They have ranged over 
the whole field, from the terms of the Government's direc- 
tive to the Viceroy, to compensation for the Indian Civil 
Service, from the movement of British civilians from India, 
with its effect on world shipping capacity, to the future 
of the Gurkhas and the strategic defence of the Indian 

First and foremost has been the consideration given to 
the amendment of the so-called "Governor-General's In- 
strument of Instructions", the official standing directive 
which it is his duty to try it) implement. Mountbatlen has 
had an important part to play in the issue of new instruc- 
tions to himself. The existing Instrument is in effect the 
execution and fulfilment of the intentions of Parliament 
as embodied in the great Act of 1935, and although its 
provisions do not directly conflict with His Majesty's Go- 
vernment's new policy, they arc not by now fully con- 
sistent with it. Strictly there should be a new Instrument, 
but as there will be no direct inconsistency until new 



legislation for the actual transfer of power is passed, the 
Government agreed to let it slide. Mountbatten, however, 
has insisted on a directive of some sort to amplify the 
Instrument, feeling it is essential that the object of his 
appointment should be clearly set out by the Prime 
Minister. He has asked for it in the form of a letter to 
himself from Mr. Attlee. 

Once this was approved he had a lot to do in the draft- 
ing of the text, which contains the following major points 
of policy for his guidance: — 

(1) The definite objective oi the British Government 
is to obtain a unitary Government for British India and 
the Jndian States, if possible within the British Com- 
monwealth, through the medium of a Constituent As- 
sembly set up and run in accordance with the Cabinet 
Mission Plan. He was instructed to do the utmost in 
his power to persuade all Parties to work together to- 
wards this end. The insertion of the phrase "if possible 
within the British Commonwealth" is at the special re- 
quest of Mountbatten, who feels that he must strive for 
a solution which leaves such good feeling that the Indian 
Parties will want to remain within the Commonwealth. 

(2) Since, however, the Cabinet Mission Plan can 
become operative in respect of British India only by 
agreement between the two major Parties, there can be 
no question of compelling either Parly to accept it. If 
by the 1st October Mountbatten considers there is no 
prospect of reaching a settlement on the basis of unitary 
Government, he is to report to the British Government 
on the steps he considers should be taken for the hand- 
over of power on the due date. 

(3) For guidance in his relations with the States, 
Mr. Attlee laid down that he was to do his best to 
persuade Rulers of States in which political progress 
had been slow to go forward rapidly towards the in- 
troduction of some form of more democratic govern- 



ment in their States, and towards the formulation of 
fair and just arrangements with the leaders of British 
India as to their future relationships. 

(4) As far as his administration of British India was 
concerned, the keynote of this was to be the closest co- 
operation with Indians. 

(5) Transfer of power was lo be in accordance with 
Indian Defence requirements, and he was lo impress 
upon the Indian leaders the importance of avoiding a 
break in the continuity of the Indian Army and to point 
out the need for continued collaboration in the security 
of the Indian Ocean. 

Attlee\s letter certainly embodies the most formidable 
terms of reference ever given by a Government lo a 

London, Tuesday, Jlth March, 1947 
In the welter of engagements Mountbatten has been 
careful to include the Opposition leaders. Some of these 
discussions have been quite private and informal. To- 
night he came round lo my flat for the first meeting he 
has ever had with Lord Samuel. Lord Samuel arrived a 
few minutes early, and Mountbatten on time. It came 
as quite a jolt to see the Admiral in plain clothes- teddy- 
bear coat and bowler hat perched on the top of his head. 
I understand the Admiralty Fleet Orders describe his 
latest appointment as "Rear- Admiral etc., seconded tem- 
porary duty Viceroy"! 

He was at pains lo stress that as far as he was con- 
cerned his appointment had the cordial approval of the 
King, who had personally appealed lo him, on grounds of 
national duty, lo accept it. Attlec had observed all the pro- 
prieties, and the Opposition were quite wrong 'in saying 
that it was simply the Prime Minister's appointment. He 
could not sec what alternative there was to a time limit. 
June 1948 might not be long enough, but Wavell himself 
had advised this date on the grounds that the administra- 



live services would have run down by then. Speaking from 
the purely personal view-point, he said it was probably 
better to take over when the situation was at its lowest 
ebb. Bihar and Bengal had been in a sense inoculated after 
their recent outbreaks, but he felt the present Punjab crisis 
was inevitable. The situation in the Punjab had been very 
tense for some time. The Moslem Coalition Prime Minister 
had for the past five months been compelled to move from 
house Lo house each night to avoid the threat of assassina- 
lion at the hands of the Moslem League. Mounlbatten fell 
there would probably also be trouble from the north in 
the North-west Frontier Province. 

He recalled the warning he had given to Sir Hubert 
Ranee before Ranee left to become Governor of Bufma. 
It was, that he should wail until the situation was at its 
worst; but he had gone oul, from a sense of duty, a bit 
loo quickly, and instead of arriving while the big Rangoon 
strike was on, did so a few days before it began, thereby 
incurring some of the blame for it. Mountbattcn felt that 
in his own case it would not be possible for anyone to 
hold him responsible for the present troubles in India, and 
that this in itself would be a great advantage in the nego- 
tiations ahead of him. He asked for advice on the lines 
he should pursue. Answering his own question and think- 
ing aloud, he said he favoured a week's private talk with 
the key^ leaders in Simla. This should supply occasion 
for a completely frank and uninhibited exchange of views. 
Samuel was content to do most of the listening, but stress- 
ed the need tor maintaining the constitutional link with 
the Crown after the transfer of power, perhaps even 
through the relenliorf of the Viceregal title. 

I was very glad lo have been able to arrange this meet- 
ing, as, in spite of obvious disparities of age and outlook, 
the two men have much in common. Samuel's influence 
in the Lords is very great, and his goodwill in the coming 
months may be of value out of all proportion to the 
Liberal voting strength. 



London, Monday, 17th March, 1947 
A crowded day. In the morning I saw Lady Mount- 
batten who is extremely kind and cordial about my join- 
ing the party. I mentioned that at dinner last night with 
the Lay tons, Lady Lay ton had referred to the great in- 
fluence in Sardar Patel's household of his daughter Mani- 
ben, who was reported to be very suspicious of British in- 
tentions. Lady Mountbatten agreed, adding that Jinnah's 
sister, no less influential, was also reported to hold strong 
views and to be a formidable factor in the situation. 
Mountbatten, 1 know, has asked her to establish early 
contact with the women who matter in India and who 
have hitherto had no relations with Viceroy's House. 

I went on to 10 Downing Street, where J had a most 
helpful talk with Francis Williams, the Prime Minister's 
Public Relations Officer. He has given me a number of 
useful introductions and has shown himself keenly alive 
to the scale of the Public Relations problems confronting 
me. I leave fortified by the knowledge of his firm sup- 
port. J have also received invaluable help from A. H. 
Joyce, the able and experienced Officer in charge of In- 
formation at the India Office, who is most co-operative 
and full of sound doctrine. 

In the evening to India House for a reception given by 
ihc High Commissioner, Sir Samuel Runganadhan. From 
the Press point of view it was a veritable bear-garden, and 
a most useful commentary on the paper I have just put in 
warning Mountbatten aeainst large-scale Press conferences 
in India. We had no idea that the Press was uoine to be 
let loose on him at this particular gathering. The whole 
place was floodlit for a ncwsreel interview, and Mount- 
batten was waylaid by about a do/en London correspond- 
ents of Indian papers, who buzzed round him like a swarm 
of bees working overtime. No attempt was made by the 
host to rescue him. One 4 particularly persistent reporter 
asked him if he had ever read Karl Marx, and a little later 
assured him that he approved his appointment, as it would 
no doubt be best for an Admiral to deal with the British 



evacuation by sea! I left the party with Mountbatten, who 
was, I think, much chastened by his experience. His only 
comment was, "We live and learn.'* 

malta, Wednesday, 19th March, 1947 
It has been arranged for Mountbatten and his staff to 
fly out to India in the two York aircraft MW101 and 
MW102, which were allotted respectively to the King, and 
to Mountbatten as Supreme Commander South-east Asia, 
during the war. Mountbatten, Lady Mountbatten and 
Pamela, with Ronnie Brockman and Peter Howes,* do 
not leave until to-morrow. They will be flying rather more 
ruthlessly than ourselves, and when we reach Delhi they 
will be only two hours flying time behind us. Fortunately 
I am in Ismay's plane, who made it clear that he proposes 
to travel to a comfortable schedule, arriving at the various 
staging points at civilised hours. 

After being obliged to shed some of our luggage, we 
took off at 11.30 a.m., about half an hour late. The first 
leg of the journey was uneventful and the route difficult 
to follow. We passed over Perpignan and Perigeux, and 
then made a wide sweep, taking the course of a following 
wind along the North African coast. We came finally to 
Malta from the south by way of Cape Bon — dark purple 
in the sunset. On arrival at Luqa, Ismay and Mieville 
drove off to dine with the mighty, while the rest of us 
were graded as V.I. P. 2, which, as Martin Gilliat, Mount- 
batten's new Deputy Military Secretary, wryly observed, 
meant that we were low life, mere parasites of the great; 
it also meant bare beds in bare rooms. 

After dinner one member of our party became very 
learned on Maltese* culture, customs and history — their 

* Lieutenant-Commander Peter Howes, D.S.C., R.N., previous- 
ly nominated as Lord Mountbatten 's Flag Lieutenant in the 
First Cruiser Squadron, and now to become his senior A.D.C. 
in India. He included among his A D.C.'s three Indian serving 
officers, one from each Service, appointed on a full-time basis 
and the first to hold such posts. 



stone-masonry, their goat economy, etc. He explained 
that some British official, in his wisdom, had laid down 
a hundred years ago that all ships had to pay their harbour 
dues by bringing in earth. This ruling, which would seem 
sufficiently creative and unorthodox to have earned in- 
stant dismissal for its perpetrator, has. in fact helped to 
give an arable top dressing to an otherwise bare rock. 
Ended the day with some good Naval rum to counteract 
the frosty air. 



viceroy's house, new dlehi, Saturday, 22nd March, 1947 
Left Karachi promptly at 9.15 a.m., afler some fitful 
sleep on a very hard Indian bed, for the last eight hundred 
miles of our journey over the deserts of Sind and Raj- 
putana to Delhi. This was. my seventh flight between 
England and India, and the abiding impression is desert, 
four thousand miles of it, without an appreciable break 
from the sands of Tunis to the foothills of the Himalayas. 
We touched down at PaJam airfield exactly to schedule 
at 12.30 p.m. We were met by the Commander-in-Chief, 
Field-Marshal Auchinleck — a very nice gesture on his part, 
as two hours later he was due back to join the much larger 
party receiving Mounlbatten's aircraft. We were whisked 
away without luggage worries in Viceregal cars, and the 
year's high living had begun. 

Immediately on arrival at Viceroy's House we were told 
that we were due to lunch with the Wavells. It was to 
be their last lunch-party as Viceroy and Vicereinej It was 
served on the terrace of the Moghul gardens under the 
shadow of the south-west wing of Lutyen\s vast imperial 
palace. While waiting for Their Excellencies to arrive, 
Ismay engaged in a friendly chat with some of the senior 



kitmutgars who remembered him when he was here as 
Willingdon's Military Secretary. 

During the afternoon there was much preparation and 
bustle in the main courtyard and up the steps leading to 
the great Durbar Hall of Viceroy's House. At 3.45 p.m. 
the Mountbattens duly arrived in the open landau with the 
Governor-General's escort and outriders. They were con- 
ducted up the long flight of steps- red-carpeted for the 
occasion— by Colonel Douglas Currie, Ihe Military Secre- 
tary, and an A.D.C. At the top they were received by 
the Wavells. Lady Mountbatten curtsied and Mount- 
batten bowed his head to the Viceroy for the first and last 
lime on this mission. They stood talking for quite a while, 
long enough for the ubiquitous camera-men to takg some 
pleasant shots of them. 

Vernon Frskine Crum tells me that European sentiment 
here is definitely anti-Mountbalten on four grounds: — 

( 1 ) that he knows nothing about India; 

(2) that he is bringing a stalf who know nothing 
about India and who are doing good men out of good 

(3) that he is a play-boy: 

(4) that Wavell has been treated abominably and 
there is no good reason for his removal. 

Mountbatten can be trusted to deal by his presence and 
actions with (1) and O) within a matter of days. (2) 
clearly cannot refer to Ismay or Micville— so that leaves 
the rest of us! We arc not, of course, doing anyone out 
of jobs, but are merely additional to the normal Viceregal 
set-up. But we shall have to tread carefully and avoid 
tender corns. (4)*i s primarily the responsibility of Attlee, 
who has failed to say the generous word. 

All this may be the view of the British about us, but 
on our side it all too easy to start off with the feeling 
that Mountbatten has been called in after the situation 
has become hopeless, and that the Government has pro- 
pounded a transfer of power without knowing how it can 



be effected. We have inherited inter alia communal riot- 
ing, which is spreading as though by chain reaction; the 
key Province of the Punjab, with its threefold Hindu, 
Moslem and Sikh Communal problem, governed by em- 
ergency decree; a Viceregal plan which is nothing more 
nor less than a phased military evacuation; a Congress 
formula for an Independent Sovereign Republic with a 
Direct Action campaign by the Moslem League to resist 
it; Paramountcv which returns to the Indian Princes but 
contains no machinery for direct negotiation to provide 
a new relationship with our successors in British India or, 
indeed, with anyone else. 

So, in short, we have the people rioting, the Princes 
falling fuit among themselves, the entire Indian Civil Ser- 
vice and Police running down, and the British, who are 
left sceptical and full of foreboding. I detect in Mount- 
batten, however, just the same optimism that uplifted us 
all when we arrived here in Delhi some three and a half 
years ago on the then ''impossible" task of creating South- 
cast Asia Command out ol the ashes of defeat and 

Mountbatten has wasted no time whatever in sending 
off two simple and straightforward letters to Gandhi and 
Jinnah expressing the hope that it will be possible for 
them to come and see him soon. In Gandhi's case he ap- 
preciates his preoccupations in Bihar, where he is carrying 
out his "repentance tours" through the areas of the worst 
communal disturbance. Incidentally Gandhi is so pre- 
occupied that it is still doubtful whether he will attend 
the great Pan Asian Conference which is due to be held 
undei the shadow of the Old Fort on Monday. Mount- 
batten's immediate approach to Gandhi and Jinnah in 
this way, even before Wavell has left, is typical of the 
man and his methods. 

vici roy's HOTisr, nlw dkltii, Sunday, 23rd March, 1947 
The Wavells left promptly at 8.15 in the morning. It 
has certainly been no day of rest for us. There has been 



much administrative panic in connection with the publicity 
for to-morrow's Swearing-in Ceremony. It has never be- 
fore been photographed or filmed, and now is the last 
chance. 1 went round to Mountbatlen's suite and had a 
discussion with the Viceroy designate, clad in his under- 
pants and vest, on the implications of letting in all the 
local news-reel and camera-men, twenty-two altogether, or 
leaving some out. He proposed that a large platform 
should be built for them at triforium level near the circular 
dome, which I am quite sure will not be acceptable to any 
of the interested parties. He showed me this morning's 
masterpiece on the front pace of Dawn. It is a photograph 
of Ronnie Brockman and Elizabeth Ward, Lady Mount- 
batten's private secretary, in which they are, described as 
"Lord and Lady Louis arriving"!* 

The reaction of the Indian Press to Mountbalten on his 
arrival is satisfactory. He is pleased at the tributes paid 
to Wavcll, and says he would have hated to be written 
up at Wavell's expense. In any case, he prefers to start 
off on a low note. 

He has decided on another innovation —a brief address 
as part of the Swearing-in Ceremony. He read out George 
Abell's first draft to me. T think the speech is well con- 
ceived and well timed, for he must sei/c the initiative 
quickly, and this calls for imaginative and unusual action. 
During dinner a draft revised by Mount batten himself was 
handed to me. It contained one sentence which worried 
me. After commenting on the British Government's re- 
solve to effect the transfer of power by June 1948, he 
proposes to add "in fact a solution must be reached within 
the next six months if there is to be adequate time for it 
to be implemented*. T felt this wording was likely to be 
misinterpreted, and even taken to imply an escape clause 
from the Government's hitherto unqualified time limit. 
Mountbatlen's first reaction is that he has the Govern- 

* As they were Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten before he 
received his Viscounty for war .services, (hey are still colloquial- 
ly called 1 ord and Lady Louis. 



ment's authority to report progress by October, so why 
not say so now? But this is his specially chosen first bow. 
If he starts off by unwittingly throwing doubt on the Go- 
vernment's time-limit pledge, 1 can imagine nothing more 

It is just after 1 a.m., and an A.D.C. has come through 
to say that His Excellency has revised his speech, and 
what is he to do about giving it to the Press? The ambi- 
guous sentence, J am relieved to say, u> out. 

vktroy's iioijSf, niw w.uii, Monday. 24th March, 1947 
Up betimes for the Swearing-in Ceremony. It was 
similar in form to WavelFs first investiture, which I had 
attended in the Durbar Hall in 1943: the same trumpets 
from the roof acting as a shattering prelude: then the 
A.D.CYs in stiif procession leading Their Excellencies to- 
wards the thrones. In all this royal splendour the Mount- 
battens indeed showed themselves to be to the manner 
born. Mountbatten himself looked superb with the dark- 
blue ribbon of Knight of the Garter and the overwhelming 
array of orders and decorations across his chest. In addi- 
tion to the Garter they were headed by no fewer than three 
Grand Crosses, the K.C.B. and D.S*0. 

Lad\ Mountbatten, for her part, was the epitome of 
grace, with her new order of the Crown of India, besides 
all her war medals and other decorations, on her dress of 
ivory brocade. "The red-and-gold thrones were set in bold 
relief by the lighting concealed in the rich red velvet hang- 
ings. Arc lights played down upon the scene as Sir Patrick 
Spons,, the Lord Chief Justice of India, administered the 
oath and Mountbatten repeated it alter him. 

The film cameras whirred and the flash-bulbs went off 
for the first time in the confines of the Durbar Hall. I 
remained on guard with the photographers to ensure that 
there were no ugly rushes, but they all behaved admirably. 
Mountbatten \s responses and his address, although de- 



livered with great emphasis, were almost inaudible at the 
back of the hall: the acoustics were abominable; even 
quite near to him it was most difficult to catch what he 
was saying. 

The whole ceremony was completed in exactly a quarter 
of an hour, the address taking four minutes. On each side 
of the thrones were flanked the Leaders of the new India, 
upon whom will rest such terrifying responsibility in the 
coming weeks. I noticed both Nehru and Liaquat Ali 
Khan listened with the utmost attention to the speech, 
which of course came as a complete surprise to them. 

There were two important, and as far as 1 know un- 
explained, absentees - the Nawab of Bhopal and the fyfaha- 
raja of Bikaner. George Abell darted up just before ten 
past ten to see il Bhopal had taken his place, but he had 
not, and the seal was removed. Considering that both 
Bhopal and Bikaner are Mountbatten's two oldest personal 
friends in India, and the importance attached by (he 
Princes to ceremonial etiquette in general and the Vicere- 
gal conned ion in particular, their failure to be present 
to-day is a good indication of disunity and crisis in their 

Mounlbattcn had three hours with Nehru and two with 
Liaquat this afternoon. They discussed Liaquafs Budget, 
the immediate bone of contention between the two Parties. 
Wavell has warned Mountbatlen that he will find this a 
very awkward opening problem to tackle when he presides 
over his first Lxecutive Council. Liaquat, as Finance 
Minister in the Interim Government, by proposing heavy 
taxes on all large incomes, has put the Congress into the 
invidious position of* being called upon to protect its big 
business supporters and of seeking relief for them ap- 
parently at the expense oi its own progressive and equali- 
tarian declarations. The feeling is thai some compromise 
will be found, for there is a limit beyond which neither 
the Moslem League nor the Congress can go in taxing 
wealthy subscribers. 



viceroy's house, nlw deehi, Tuesday, 25th March, 1947 

1 attended Mountbalten's first Staff Meeting, which took 
place in his dark, air-cooled study, and consisted of lsmay, 
Mieville, George Abell, Brockman, Hrskine Crum and my- 
self. It is Mount batten's intention that these informal 
round-table moots should be held on a day-to-day basis, 
enabling him to think aloud without any mental reserva- 
tions. They are to be a direct continuation, in a far more 
intimate form, of the staff techniques he instituted at Com- 
bined Operations and developed in South-east Asia Com- 
mand. Mountbatten started off with a lively account of 
yesterday's interviews with Nehru and Liaqual, as well 
as with Bikancr and Bhopal, who both came round to 
exphyn their absence from the Swearing-in Ceremony. At 
the end of all these sessions, six hours in all, he confessed 
that he felt like a "boiled egg". 

The Bhopal and Bikaner interviews revealed the full 
scale of the split among the Princes. This is a great grief 
to Bhopal, who feels that Bikancr and the other "dissid- 
ents", by allowing themselves to take part in the Constitu- 
ent Assembly, are becoming the tools of Congress and 
undermining the whole bargaining position of the States 

hitherto they had succeeded in standing on their own 
outside the communal fury. Bhopal thought the time 
limit was quite impossible, and if enforced must involve 
bloodshed and chaos. He asked Mountbatten earnestly 
whether there was any possible escape from it. Mount- 
batten said there was of course one, jnd only one, way 
out, and that was an invitation from all the Indian parties 
to us to remain- a most unlikely contingency. But Bhopal 
was not so sure that as the time drew on such an offer 
might not be made. 

Bikaner, whom Mountbatten questioned on this point, 
was not so sanguine. He argued for the so-called "dis- 
sident" Princes, and while agreeing that the split was 
most unfortunate, stressed that it was Bhopal who, by his 
attitude to the Interim Government, had caused the com- 
munal issue to be raised among them. The "dissidents". 



by taking part in the Constituent Assembly, would im- 
measurably strengthen the new central regime, and help 
to ensure that it was not in fact a purely Congress set-up. 

Mountbatten's firitf interview with Nehru was illuminat- 
ing. In expansive mood Nehru ran through his inter- 
pretation of the major developments from the period of 
the Cabinet Mission onwards. Mountbatten considered 
it was substantially accurate and tallied with information 
he had gathered in London. Ln Nehru's view, Wavell had 
made one serious blunder in inviting the Moslem League 
to come into the Interim Government, instead of waiting 
a little longer for them to ask to be brought in. He spoke 
of a private Moslem League meeting at which Jinnah had 
in fact already capitulated on this issue. 

Mountbatten asked Nehru to give him his own estimate 
of Jinnah. Nehru recalled that he had done so in his 
recent book, but this did not prevent him from giving a 
further penetrating impression. Nehru said the essential 
thing to realise about Jinnah is that he is a man to whom 
success has come very late in life — at over sixty. Before 
that he had not been a major figure in Indian politics. He 
was a successful lawyer, but not an especially good one, 
and Nehru stressed the necessity of making this particular 
distinction in Jinnah's case. The secret of his success — 
and it had been tremendous, if only for its emotional in- 
tensity — was in his capacity to take up a permanently ne- 
gative attitude. This he had done with complete singleness 
of purpose ever since 1935. He knew that Pakistan could 
never stand up to constructive criticism, and he had en- 
sured that it should^never be subjected to it. 

Mountbatten next asked what Nehru thought was the 
biggest single problem facing India to-day, and he replied 
at once, the economic one. Thereupon Mountbatten asked 
him whether he was satisfied with the way the Interim 
Government was tackling it. Nehru said he was not, but 
the position was made impossible by the League, who 



were determined to sabotage any economic planning from 
the centre. Such planning, if it succeeded, would ipso 
facto undermine the case for Pakistan with regard to the 
Punjab. Nehru put forward a proposal he has made be- 
fore of a tripartite administration of the Province divided 
up on communal lines, with a central authority to deal 
with certain major non-communal subjects. He was con- 
vinced this was the only way to break the intolerable dead- 
lock of Government under Section 93,* which Wavell had 
had to impose at the beginning of this month. 

The vexed question of compensation for the Jndian 
Civil Service on the transfer of power was raised at this 
interview. Nehru thought we were crazy to want to com- 
pensate civil servants to whom the offer of remaining on 
in their jobs was open. The new Government would 
pledge itself to offer them the same conditions of contract 
as they had previously enjoyed. Mountballen said there 
could be no question of the British Government going back 
on its word, and he could not think Nehru was suggesting 
that it should. Nehru admitted that as far as the British 
were concerned it was, of course, purely the British Go- 
vernment's affair. But even so, why compensate them 
on such a lavish scale? This could only encourage them 
to leave their posts. And what about (he Indians? Here 
it was a question of their continuing in the service of their 
own countrymen. The proposals really were crazy as they 
stood, Mountbatten, however, firmly asked for his sup- 
port on them. He thought Nehru had misunderstood 
British psychology. The more lavish and clear-cut the 
compensation, the greater was the likelihood of the British 
civil servants remaining on. 

In Mountbatten's view, Nehru was extremely frank and 
fair, and astounded him by actually suggesting *at one 

* A reference to Section 93 of the Government of India Act 
of 1935, which under conditions of ci\il disturbance enabled the 
Viceroy and Governors of the Indian Provinces to invoke re- 
serve powers and govern by decree. 



point an Anglo-Indian union involving nothing less than 
common citizenship — in effect, a far closer bond than 
Commonwealth status, which Nehru felt was psychologi- 
cally and emotionally unacceptable. 

At the end of the interview, us Nehru was about to take 
hi«; leave, Mountbutten said to him, "Mr. Nehru, I want 
you to regard me not as the last Viceroy winding up the 
British Raj, but as the first to lead the way to the new 
India.** Nehru turned, looked intensely moved, smiled 
and then said, "Now I know what they mean when they 
speak of your charm being so dangerous." 

During his talk Liaquat asked a leading question about 
Mountbatten's Swearing-in speech. He wanted to -know 
who was responsible for the idea. Mountbatlen said he 
could answer that at once. It was entirely his own, and 
produced at nobody's request. Indeed, some of his own 
statf had been against it. "1 am pleased to hear that," 
said Liaquat, "for no fewer than three highly placed and 
well-informed sources had assured me that you had made 
the speech at the request of Congress." This little incid- 
ent is a good example of the prevailing communal suspi- 
cion, and no lime has been lost by either side in pressing 
home all possible points it can against the other. 

Perhaps the most signilicant commentary on Nehru's 
Punjab proposals was a telegram from Sir Lvan Jenkins, 
the Governor of the Punjab, to which Mieville drew at- 
tention at the Staff Meeting. Jenkins reported that Giani 
Kartar Singh, an influential Sikh leader, had stated that 
in the absence of an agreement between Congress and the 
League acceptable *o the Sikhs, the Sikhs must insist on 
the partition of the Punjab and would resist with all their 
resources any endeavour to set up a Moslem League Mini- 
stry there in the meanwhile. This speech has additional 
authority in that the Sikhs have already persuaded Con- 
gress lo put up a resolution -accepted, incidentally, by 
Wavell only a week before Mountbatten arrived — in fav- 
our of partitioning the Punjab. 




Wednesday, 26th March, 1947 
Mountbatten began this morning's Staff Meeting with 
another vivid resume of yesterday's interviews. Quite 
apart from keeping notes, he has a photographic memory 
and the journalist's perception of human detail. Yester- 
day he saw Dr. John Matthai, Minister for Railways,, Sir 
Conrad Corfield, Secretary to the Political Department, 
and, last but not least, Vallabhbhai Patcl. Matthai, who 
is a Christian and in no sense a Party man, gave, in 
Mountbatten's estimate, a first-class appreciation, in every 
way balanced and reasonable. Matthai stressed that a 
horrifying feature of the situation was that all those who 
were /trying to steer an honourable straight course were 
gradually losing their influence and becoming increasingly 
disliked and distrusted by both sides. Matthai said that 
he had done his best, for instance, to back Liaquafs 
Budget, only to find himself subjected to bitter attack by 

Corfield. who is constitutionally adviser to the Viceroy 
in his capacity as Crown Representative on all matters 
affecting the Indian Slates, argued with some bitterness 
that Bikaner, by taking his place in the Constituent As- 
sembly, had seriously weakened the bargaining power of 
the Princes. Corfield is clearly on BhopaTs side in this 
controversy, and seems to see the Princes as a potential 
"Third Force" in the transfer of power. 

Mountbatten had been somewhat apprehensive about 
his first meeting with Patcl, who has the reputation ot 
being the strong man in the Congress High Command, 
but he very quickly detected a twinkle in the Sardar's 
eye. His approach to the whole problem was clear and 
decisive. India must get rid of the Moslem League. The 
League was actually boasting about the developments in 
the Punjab. They must be mad. All was serene until 
they touched on compensation. At this point Patel raised 
his hand and vowed that if any Indian accepted compensa- 
tion he would never be employed again. 



In the evening 1 dined with Maurice Zinkin, a very 
clever young Indian Civil Service man whom 1 first met 
in Delhi in 1943. He is now working as an assistant secre- 
tary in the Finance Department, and as an official has 
been fairly closely involved in the framing of Liaquat's 
controversial budget, which soaks the Hindu rich and is 
calculated to widen the breach between the millionaire and 
four-anna subscribers to Congress. Maurice had also in- 
vilcd K. M. Panikkar, whom I was particularly anxious 
to meet. Panikkar sports a small imperial beard. He is 
an historian, politician and journalist, a man of prodigious 
learning and profound judgement and no mean practi- 
tioner in l he dying art of good conversation. 

1 gave him a clear run by asking, "What would you do 
if you were in Mountbatten's place?" He replied at once 
thai Mountbatten, as a Naval strategist, must realise that 
British interest was best served by the creation of a solid 
centralised State based on India's seaboard, on more than 
three hundred millions of the people and on geographical 
and religious unity. Hindustan is the elephant, he said, 
and Pakistan the two ears. The elephant can live without 
the ears. He admitted frankly that Jinnah could make . 
an essentially reasonable case. In a four-roomed house he 
asks for only one room, but he wants that room to be his 
own. He is unwilling to entrust local Moslem majorities 
to a strong Hindu -control led central government. Panik- 
kar s thesis was in effect that we should not try to impose 
a larger unity than India was fundamentally seeking. 
Nehru's tripartite proposals for the Punjab were the first 
sign of Congress acceptance of the Hindustan-Pakistan 
division. J innah's ^experience with the Sikhs must have 
made him realise that the unity of the Punjab was physi- 
cally impossible. 

Historically speaking, Panikkar asserted, the Punjab is 
a British myth, and no more the special home of a fighting 
race than anywhere else in India. Over the centuries the 
historical greatness of India was never identified with a 
strong Punjab. The British should beware of the Punjab 



myth and of the larger "Central Asia" myth which had 
dominated so much of their thought and policy in the 
past. It was necessary to think in post-war terms. 

He then turned to the problem of the Princes. As 
Bikaner's Dewan, or Prime Minister, and principal ad- 
viser, Panikkar* occupies a key position. He and Sir V. 
T. Krishnamachari, Dewan to the Maharaja of Jaipur, 
have seized the initiative on behalf of the Rajputana 
Princes. Panikkar admits lhat Bhopal, the present Chan- 
cellor of the Chamber of Princes, is in a difficult position 
as a Moslem Prince of a Hindu Slate. Bui as Chancellor 
he is really enunciating- although he may not fully realise 
it — a new doctrine of Paramountcy, by asserting that no 
action *should be taken by Stales individually, but only 
collectively and by agreement with the Chancellor. Panik- 
kar said that his concept of Paramountcy allowed it to be 
no business of the Chancellor as to whether or no indivi- 
dual Princes opted to have representation in the Consti- 
tuent Assembly. This was a matter as between each in- 
dividual State and Britain, and only a direct instruction 
from the Crown Representative would affect his action. 

Some ten of the sixteen big Stales had taken their places 
in the Constituent Assembly. Post-war thinking in the 
case of the Princes was also necessary on Britain's part. 
As long as they were instruments in a British "Divide and 
Rule" regime they were powerful factors in the mainten- 
ance of the Raj, but once British rule is relaxed, the 
Princes* power is automatically in decline, and they must 
seek security within the framework of the dominant politi- 
cal structure which is likely to take its place. The position 
of the northern group of Princes— Jodhpur, Jaipur, 
Baroda, Patiala and Bikaner— was particularly difficult. 
Patiala was only a hundred and forty miles from Delhi. 

Although Nehru during his seven days' negotiations with 
the Princes in February had stressed no fewer than five 

* Some of Panikkar' s most constructive and far-seeing ideas 
are to be fonnd in his monograph "The Basis of an Jndo-Biitish 
Treaty" (Oxford University Press, 1945). 



limes the voluntary nature of any agreement with the 
Congress, and Congress's refusal to coerce any unwilling 
partner, the decision facing the Princes was none the less 
to join in or perish. The Nizam of Hyderabad was a 
special case, and while it was highly desirable to bring 
him into the fold and to handle him firmly, Panikkar re- 
commended no actual coercion. Hyderabad, the Premier 
Indian State, with its Moslem ruler, was in the heart oi 
Hindustan, and had eighty-six per cent of its total popu- 
lation of seventeen million, Hindus. It would be impos- 
sible for her to remain out. The largest State of all in 
area, Kashmir, was in a difficult position, and the Maha- 
raja would no doubt be tempted to throw in his lot with 
Jinnah. Panikkar said that a key motive for the* Princes 
to join the Constituent Assembly is to provide a reinforce- 
ment of the right wing of Congress and a counter- weight 
to Jai Prakash Narain and his Socialist group, who have 
made considerable headway in Bengal. 

Hnallv I asked Panikkar about the social structure of 
the two Parties, and he confirmed the view, to which 
Mountbatten subscribes, that the Congress was in due 
course likely to split. The Moslem League, he felt, was 
more closely integrated, lacking as it did the extremes of 
industrial wealth and poverty. The few Moslem magnates 
were mainly land-owners, and the exploitation of Moslem 
poverty was mostly at the hands of Hindu capitalists. 

vk t-roy's housi., nfw \)\ i hi, Friday, 28/ h March, 1947 
During his first week as Viceroy, Mountbatten has set 
the tempo he proposes to maintain. By the time March 
is out he will have held comprehensive individual inter- 
views with every member of the Cabinet, as the Viceroy's 
Executive Council is now colloquially called, with Auchin- 
leck and the other Service Commanders-in-Chief, with the 
key Princes and Dcwans, and with the leaders of the British 
community and Scheduled Castes. He approaches each 
of these conversations with a completely open mind and 
handles them without any formality. The objective is to 



establish personal relationships where none have existed 
before. All this is extremely hard work. The interviews 
are of rarely less than a half -hour's duration. 

As he is seeing the Leaders in such close sequence, the 
volume of opinion and information which he is absorbing 
is very heavy. vSo he has established a procedure that as 
soon as a Leader leaves the room there is a fifteen minutes' 
interval before the next appointment while he dictates to 
his stenographer a resume of his last conversation. These 
interview notes are given reference numbers and are cir- 
culated immediately to his start, enabling us to follow ever\ 
move he makes. 

An opportunity to introduce himself to a wider circle 
has been presented by the great Asian Relations Confer- 
ence, which has been meeting near the Old f-'orl in Old 
Delhi all this week. This evening the Mountbatlens gave 
their first garden-parly for all the delegates, members of 
the Legislative Assembly and senior officials in Delhi, num- 
bering in all some seven hundred guests. The Moghul 
gardens and the State rooms were crowded with a great 
number of Congress and other leaders, who were seeing 
the inside of Viceroy's House literally for the first time. 
This was psychologically a very important party. In the 
first place, it was a clear token of !he new Viceroy's good- 
will towards Nehru's most ambitious move to assert 
Indian status in Asian affairs. But, beyond that, it en- 
abled tne Mountbattens to reveal from the outset their 
splendid social sense and invoke the Indian gift for friend- 
ship. As 1 mingled among the guests I gained no sense 
of hostility, but only of reserve struggling to suppress 
curiosity. The Mountbattens did much to-night to break 
down that reserve. 

Afterwards Lady Mountbatten and Pamela and a, party 
from Viceroy's House went on to an "At Home" in the 
garden of Nehru's house at 17, York Road, where we saw 
an exquisite display by the famous Chhau or Masque 
dancers of Seraikclla, a small State dedicated for centuries 
to the service of the dance. 



viceroy's iioush, new di-.lhi. Monday, 31st March, 1947 
I li,m early for breakfast with the Nehru household. 
There was* an informal atmosphere, and we sat down to 
a European breakfast of eggs and tomatoes, tea and cof- 
fee, toast and marmalade." Mrs. Pandit, Nehru's charm- 
ing and brilliant sister, with one of her daughters, had 
just arrived from the United Nations session in New York. 
Krishna Menon, of India League fame, one of Nehru's 
closest friends, to whom he has given a roving commis- 
sion at this critical time, was there, aquiline and intense. 
There was another friend present- -a Mr. Patel, a tractor 
manufacturer, who was pleading with Nehru to open a 
new factory of his in Bombay. Nehru was weighing in 
his mind whether he could combine such a materialistic 
ceremony with his principal duly during his next Bombay 
visit — namely, the handing over of some Buddhist telics. 
Nehru is very quiet-spoken, and all his reactions in his 
own home seem to be pianissimo. 

After breakfast 1 had an earnest talk with Krishna 
Menon, who stressed: --- 

(a) The Indian desire for common citizenship but 
not Dominion Status. He wants what he calls reci- 
procity. Such are the suspicions about Churchill that 
if he is prepared to accept Dominion Status, it can- 
not mean real freedom. 

(/>) The limit of Nehru's patience with the pre- 
sent situation in the Cabinet. The persistent refusal 
of the Moslem League members to accept him as 
leader was intolerable. 




(c) Prevalent criticism of the Viceroy's I.C.S. staff, 
and in particular of George Abell. I spoke strongly 
in favour of Abell's high calibre and patent objecti- 
vity. Menon 4 admitted that the attacks against him 
were probably unjustified, but must be recognised 
by Mountbatten as a political reality. 

He said Mountbatten started with an advantage vis-a- 
vis Gandhi, who regarded him as an honest man, but he 
gave warning that a conversation with the Mahatma was 
always unpredictable. There was always the darjger that 
it might be side-tracked through Gandhi involving him- 
self in some special subject. 

I arrived back just in time for the ten o'clock Staff 
Meeting, where plans for Mounlbatten's first interview 
with Gandhi this afternoon were fully discussed. Press 
interest in the meeting is naturally immense. When the 
Mahatma duly arrived at three o'clock I must have had 
every accredited camera-man in the sub-continent wait- 
ing with me in the Moghul gardens outside the Viceroy's 

After the initial greetings were over the Mountbattens 
conducted him out to face this battery. He underwent 
the ordeal with great good humour, joking with the 
Mountbattens and generally doing his best to meet the 
conflicting requests of the camera-men, all trying to secure 
the perfect shot. As it happens, this was achieved by 
Max Desfor, the brilliant Associated Press of America 
photographer, who waited until the frenzied scramble for 
the posed shots was over, and then, with the perception 
of the artist, saw that Gandhi, on turning to go back into 
the cool study, had placed his hand on Lady Mountbatten's 
shoulder. The picture was his- Gandhi by his action 
was doing no more and no Jess than treating Lady Mount- 
batten in the same manner as his own grand -daughters on 
his way to his Prayer Meetings. Every gesture he makes 

M. M. — 3 



has; consciously or otherwise symbolic meaning, and this 
afternoon it was spontaneous friendship. 

To-day's talk lasted for two and a quarter hours. At 
the end of it Mountbatten called me in,' introduced me to 
Gandhi, to discuss the immediate issue of a Press com- 
munique. Gandhi, who spoke with a very soft voice and 
a slight lisp, said he would be happy to leave the wording 
to the Viceroy. As soon as he had left, Mountbatten 
told me that the whole interview had been delibeiatelv 
taken up with reminiscence, the first hour and a quarter 
with Lady Mountbatten present to help produce the air 
of friendliness, and the last hour on their own. He had 
deliberately avoided all reference to the immediate, poli- 
tical situation, to allow time for them to progress along 
the path of understanding and friendship. Gandhi had 
gone back to his early life in England and South Africa 
and to his meetings with former Viceroy's. MountbaUcn 
told me that the talks are likely to go on for the remainder 
of Gandhi's week's slay in Delhi. He is quite determin- 
ed not to hustle him. All this is admirable in itself, but 
not so easy to explain to the Press, who will find it diffi- 
cult to believe that momentous discussions have not in 
fact taken place. 

1 hammered out a text with all speed, secured Mount- 
batten's approval, and then went out into the courtyard, 
where a large crowd of correspondents were wailing to 
take it down. I started to read, 'Their Excellencies met 
Mr. Gandhi at Viceroy's House this evening, and they had 
a most friendly talk with him lasting for seventy-five 
minutes". Before I could take breath an eager corres- 
pondent protested (hat this could not be true. He knew 
that the Mahatma had been there for over two hours. 
There was a murmur in the ranks. But when T continued 
with, "Thereafter His Excellency and Mr. Gandhi had an 
hour's talk alone in the same cordial vein", it was gener- 
ally acknowledged that the statement might, after all, bear 
some relation to the truth! 



viceroy's hou sr., nfw dklhi, Tuesday, 1st April, 1947 

Mountbatten has had his second talk with Gandhi. It 
lasted for two hours, only a quarter of an hour of which 
was taken up with solid business. There was a further 
long excursion into the Mahatma's life-story, and then 
an astonishing proposal by him to solve the whole pro- 
blem. It was nothing less than to dismiss the present 
Cabinet and call on Jinnah to appoint an all-Moslem ad- 
ministration. Mountbatten asked, "What will Jinnah s 
reaction be?" Gandhi replied, "Jinnah will say, *Ah, it is 
the wily Gandhi again*." Mountbatten asked with a 
smile, "And won't he be right?" "No," Gandhi replied; 
k 'l am being absolutely sincere." He told Mountbatten 
that he had got to be firm and face the consequences of 
the sins of his predecessors. The British system of 
"Divide and Rule" had created a situation in which the 
only alternatives were a continuation of British rule to 
keep law and order or an Indian blood-bath. The blood- 
bath must be faced and accepted. 

Wavell had been irritated by the time consumed in these 
interviews, but Mountbatten said he is ready to give ten 
hours to him, if necessary. He is deeply impressed with 
him, and thinks he is still of the first importance. 

To-day Mountbatten called me in to act as an unofficial 
rapporteur at a very tense and difficult meeting involving 
the final liquidation of the vexed Indian National Army 
question. A number of former I.N. A. men were still in 
prison for war crimes- that is, tor specific brutalities, as 
against purely political offences. The Government was 
being subjected to considerable pressure to release them, 
but Auchinleck, as Commander-in-Chief, was adamant 
that these sentences were to be served if discipline was 
to be maintained. In Bengal the I.N. A. were widely re- 
garded as heroic liberators, largely because they had been 
commanded by Subhas Chandra Bose, who had Once suc- 
cessfully defied Gandhi's opposition to become President 
of the Congress, and who carried his enmity of the British 
Raj to the point of linking up with the Axis and provid- 



ing the Japanese with the Indian National Army as an 
auxiliary force for their offensive on India. 

By the time Mountbatten arrived on the scene there 
was a widespread feeling that this issue should be disposed 
of; but in so far as it touched the Nationalist nerve, and 
had not been too happily handled in the past, a reason- 
able solution became more difficult to obtain as each day 
passed. Wavell had actually used his Viceregal authority 
to veto discussion of the matter, and had handed it over 
as one of the outstanding conundrums. 

Mountbatten decided to have it out in a completely 
frank conference with Nehru, Liaquat, Baldev Singh and 
Auchinleck. The meeting, my first direct experience of 
the prevailing political climate at the highest level, is not 
likely to be in character with most of the crises which 
Mountbatten will have to face. Kor once Congress and 
the Moslem League are on the same side of the fence. 
One or two of the I.N. A. men in question were Moslems. 
Although the Moslem League had been careful to avoid 
identifying itself with the Congress Civil Disobedience 
policy of 1942 or any direct challenge to the Allied war 
effort, it was significant that as soon as there was any 
suggestion that the issue was one involving national aspi- 
rations, their differences with the Congress vanished at 

Nehru was clearly anxious to be rid of the whole pro- 
blem, but was naturally worried at the possible strength 
of the Legislative Assembly's reaction. Liaquat, on the 
other hand, developed arguments which were, I felt, cal- 
culated to draw heavily on Auchinleck's limited reserves 
of temper and provoke a breach between the Government 
and the Commander-in-Chief. None the less, underneath 
the surface tension it was clear that there was a tremend- 
ous respect for Auchinleck and genuine dismay at the 
threat of his resignation, which had brought the actual 
crisis to a head. After three hours of intense discussion, 
a formula was found. Auchinleck was prevailed upon 
to write it out himself. It invoked the Federal Court as 



an adviser on the merits of each particular outstanding 

vicfroy's noi'SE, nfw DE-iJii, Wednesday, 2nd April, 1947 
At our morning Staff Meeting Mounlbatten was busy 
hammering out the I.N. A. formula. The snag now 
centres round the status of the Federal Court, which ap- 
parently is not in a position to render reports to the Com- 

On Mountbalten's instructions, I attended the Legisla- 
tive Assembly, sitting discreetly in the Governor-General's 
box to listen to the I.N. A. debate. A Moslem back- 
bencher moved the resolution demanding the release of 
the J«N.A. men and started breathing fire and slaughter. 
His oration then suddenly tailed away. It looked as 
though the Congress Whips had given him some friendly 
advice half-way through his speech. 

Then Nehru replied. His speech was a splendid effort. 
He backed Auchinleck to the hill, as he promised he 
would. The speech required great moral courage before 
a potentially hostile House. The I.N. A., he argued, was 
subjected to different pulls. There was the pull of loyalty 
lo the Army, there was the pull of a larger loyally to 
what one imagined was the good of the country; when 
loyalty is in conflict the result is an inner conflict in the 
individual. "When this happens, the best man suffers, 
the lesser man is insensitive." Not all the J.N. A. men 
were patriots; as with everyone else, there were some 
good, some bad and some in the middle. The resolu- 
tion was ultimately withdrawn. The outcome of this dan- 
gerous incident is Mountbatteirs first success at mediation 
and an encouraging example of Nehru's steadfaslness. 

vioroy's housf. nfav dm hi, Friday, 4th April, 1947 
The newspaper limelight continues lo be on the North- 
west Frontier. Tsmay spoke at to-day's Meeting of what 
he called "the bastard situation" there- ninety-seven per 
cent Moslems with a Congress Ministry. 



The question, arose of Travancore, which is in the far 
South, and the only Indian State with a sizeable sea-board. 
Uranium deposits have been found there, so the lapse of 
Paramountcy now assumes new strategic significance. 

There was a full and frank discussion of ways and 
means of evacuating Europeans should this be necessary. 
A register is to be prepared of those who wish to leave 
by June 1048. Passenger-ship shortage is such that any 
fleet of ships, however modest, will be out of the question. 
MountbatleVs directive is that shipping losses as a result 
of the war should be stressed to all concerned, and that 
in all planning any impression of panic movement must 
at all costs be avoided. 

vici.roy's noi'SF. nf:w dixhi, Saturday, 5th April, 1947 
Gandhi's master plan was discussed, and was describ- 
ed as an old kite flown without disguise. Mountbatten, 
however, had been the first person sufficiently intelligent 
to pay attention to it. The vital point was that Mount- 
batten should not allow himself to be drawn into nego- 
tiation with the Mahatma, but should only listen to advice. 

Now, at the end of the first fortnight, the main strategy 
of Mountbalten's plan, together with its tactical applica- 
tion, has already taken shape. He has had to start from 
scratch, but no time has been lost. His primary aim is to 
achieve a solution which inspires sufficient good feeling 
to enable the Indian parties to remain within the Com- 
monwealth structure from the outset. He is bending every 
effort to keep the Cabinet Mission Plan alive, but on the 
assumption that Jinnah's power and purpose are sustain- 
ed, the facilities for partition will have to be allowed for. 
He appreciates thijf the logic of partitioning the centre 
involves similar treatment for those Provinces where the 
two communities are evenly balanced. 

Whatever shape the Plan takes, Mountbatten has been 
convinced from the outset that the need for the political 
solution is much more pressing than was apparent when 
we were in London, and that the June 1948 time limit. 



far from being not long enough, is already too remote 
a deadline. He senses the danger of political collapse; 
ihe various contending factions — Congress, Moslem Lea- 
gue and Sikhs- heing strong enough to slake their res- 
pective claims, but unable, unless an agreement is reach- 
ed at once, to prevent the Chinese situation being repeat- 
ed in Jndia. The quick political solution carries with it 
the proviso 'hat its difficult administrative implications 
should be met during an agreed interim period after- 

In preparing the way for the acceptable plan, Mount- 
batten is resolved to lake all the leaders along with him 
step by step, but he proposes to do so separately on a 
personal basis, and not by formal and forbidding con- 
claves. Mountbalten hopes that the diplomacy of dis- 
cussion will have the effect of playing down the com- 
munal tension which the committee method, as can be 
seen at the Cabinet meetings of the Interim Government, 
undoubtedly stimulates. In the meanwhile at our Staff 
Meetings all possible concepts are examined. 

This morning the possibility of achieving a solution 
which leaves something at the centre was considered. 
Mountbalten mentioned as alternative concepts an alli- 
ance on the lines of the League of Nations, autonomy 
within the U.S.S.R., and the federal structure at Wash- 
ington. The argument was thrown into the arena that 
the only chance of a unitary solution would be for a de- 
cision to be taken as soon as all data was available, if 
possible within two months. It would have to be in the 
form of a decision, and not an agreement —unilateral, 
from which there was no appeal. The approval of His 
Majesty's Government would be needed at once, together 
with the earliest possible legislation and implementation, 
so that the scheme could be completed before th« end of 
1947. This would be the most honest approach, and 
could be presented as the best means of getting out by 
June 1948. If a scheme was required without a centre, 
then clearly we could not go so quickly. 



The whole of this discussion was a form of mental 
exercise in preparation for Mountbatten's first vital en- 
counter with Jinnah to-day. 

The morning Meeting went on up to Jinnah's arrival. 
There were not quite so many photographers as for the 
first Gandhi interview, and Jinnah was obviously far more 
formal and reserved in his attitude to the Press. Imme- 
diately after the meeting was over L got in to see Mount- 
batten to have my communique approved. There was 
only one minor alteration. 

Jinnah and his sister are dining at Viceroy's House to- 
morrow evening, instead of to-night. The reason is sim- 
ply that Mountbatten felt he could not sustain another 
session with him to-day. Jinnah, as he left, said he would 
put himself entirely at Mountbatten's disposal. Mount- 
batten's first reaction was, "My God, he was cold. It 
took most of the interview to unfreeze him." 

I went straight in to lunch, where the guests were Nehru 
and his daughter Indira, and Sjahrir, the Indonesian Pre- 
mier, with his buxom, blonde Dutch wife. Sjahrir must 
be the smallest statesman since Dollfuss, the Austrian 
pocket Premier. Mr. and Mrs. Winkelmann, the Dutch 
Attache mid his wife, were there also. I sat next to Indira. 
She told me she was in some of the worst blitzes in Lon- 
don and still has an air-raid warden's hat which was lent 
her one evening while she was trying to put out incendia- 
ries in Piccadilly. She has kept the helmet ever since as 
a trophy. 

After lunch Krishna Menon and Ismay, at Mount- 
batten's request, had a prolonged talk about Gandhi's 
proposals. It was agreed to-day that it was essential to 
make it clear to Nehru, before Gandhi got to work too 
hard on the Congress, that Mountbatten was far from 
committed to the Gandhi plan, and that it would need 
careful scrutiny. As Mountbatten said at the morning 
Meeting, Gandhi has come out definitely for inviting 
Jinnah to form an administration and pledged himself to 
get Congress support for it. Mountbatten thinks Gandhi's 



proposals and outlook similar to those of the phenomenal 
Mr. Pyke, once a scientist at Combined Operations, and 
author of Habakkuk, the floating self-propelled airfield 
made of ice — far-fetched but potentially feasible. 

At a Tea-party to-day at Western Court 1 was entertain- 
ed by Sir Usha Nath Sen, President of the Jndian Cor- 
respondents' Association, Associated Press of India's 
special correspondent and a more than usually well-in* 
formed source. He introduced me to some twenty lead- 
ing Indian correspondents, who for about an hour and a 
half gave me a fairly intensive grilling. I got oft* to a 
good start by introducing myself as a member of the 
Liberal Party on temporary leave from party politics and 
as oee who therefore understood the meaning of minority 
problems. Considerable interest was shown in Mount- 
batten's personal hobbies. There was a happy, almost 
child-like, belief among them all that a solution will be 
found within the next fortnight, and it was difficult to 
divert them from that. 

In the evening I dined with the Mountbattens alone, 
and heard details of the remarkable interview with Jinnah, 
who started off the conversation quite blankly — "I will 
enter into discussion on one condition only." Mount- 
batten said, "J interrupted him before he could finish his 
sentence: 'Mr. Jinnah, I am not prepared lo discuss con- 
ditions or, indeed, the present snualinn until I have had 
the chance of making your acquaintance and knowing 
more about you yourself." Jinnah was completely taken 
aback by Mountbatten's altitude, and for some while did 
not respond, remaining reserved., haughty and aloof. But 
in the end his mood softened and he duly succumbed to 
Mountbatten's desire to hear him recount the story of the 
Moslem League's rise to power in terms of his own career. 

viceroy's house, new delht, Monday, 7th April, J947 
The Jinnahs dined with the Mountbattens last night. 
Jinnah harped on Moslem massacres and described the 
horrors at length. A quick decision was called for — 'it 



would have to be a surgical operation." Mountbatten 
replied, "'An anesthetic is required before the operation." 
Mountbatten emerged from this second encounter reason- 
ably confident. "Jinnah can negotiate with me, but my 
decision goes." Jinnah stressed that Gandhi's position 
was mischievous because it entailed authority without res- 
ponsibility. To prove this point he went through the 
history of negotiations with Gandhi, ending with the re- 
jection of the Cripps' Plan and the launching of civil dis- 
obedience in 1942, which he described as the Mahatma's 
"Himalayan blunder". "The Coneress want to inherit 
everything, they would even accept Dominion Status to 
deprive me of Pakistan." 

Mountbatten is using his Staff Meetings to exercisejialf- 
considered ideas. He hammers out his thoughts on the 
anvil of discussion. It is most exciting to be a part of 
this creative process. Ismay read out Gandhi's latest letter, 
which contains the germs of a "Gandhi -Mountbatten Pact" 
conjured up out of nothing more than Mountbatten's sym- 
pathetic interest in Gandhi's proposal to let Jinnah form 
a Government. Mountbatten feels that Jinnah must be 
brought into the Government, but is not clear how it is to 
be dime. 

Apparently while the Mountballcns and Jinnah were 
being photographed before the first interview, Jinnah, in 
an elfort to be gallant to Lady Mountbatten, spoke of "a 
rose between two thorns". Unfortunately, it turned out 
that he was in the middle himself! Walt Mason, of As- 
sociated Press of America, came round to see me, and 
wanfe me to be quotable as "an official source", which 
frightens me a bit in this whispering gallery. 

This evening, at tfie end of their latest meeting, Mount- 
batten called me in to meet Jinnah, who stared at me 
with eyes like gimlets and said nothing. However, at 
Mountbatten's prompting he told me he would be very 
pleased for me to call on him and discuss Press problems. 
After he had gone Mountbatten indicated that they would 
be having a difficult talk to-morrow. 



viceroy's house, new Delhi, Tuesday, 8th April, 1947 
At to-day's Staff Meeting a letter from Liaquat was 
read which alleged the inadequate representation of Mos- 
lems in the Armed Forces. He wanted these reorganised 
forthwith so that they could be more readily split up be- 
tween Pakistan and Hindustan at the proper time. Jsmay 
stressed that to take any action on Liaquat's letter would 
be to prejudice the political issue. Until and unless the 
Viceroy reported otherwise to His Majesty's Government, 
the Cabinet Mission Plan held the field, and that Plan 
envisaged one National Army. 

Mountbatten agreed that there could be no splitting of 
the Indian Army before the withdrawal of the British, for 
two "reasons. 'The mechanics won't permit it, and f 
won't." He said he was resolved to tell Jinnah that he 
must maintain law and order, and would not help the 
Parlies at the expense of either. Kven if it was decided 
to demit power to individual Provinces, it would still be 
essential to keep central control of Defence. Jsmay said 
the British Army slays until Command passes. The 1935 
Constitution remains in force. Mountbatten spoke on 
Nehru's view of Gandhi's plan— they should not let go a 
strong Centre until there was something to hand over to. 
Abell said the key question was: Is the Cabinet Mission 
Plan dead? Tell Jinnah what he will get if he refuses iU 
He won't be reasonable until this has been clarified. 


Wednesday, 9th April, 1947 
At to-day's Meeting Mountbatten said that he raised 
yesterday with Jinnah the question of an appeal by both 
of the major Parties for a truce in the communal disturb- 
ances, and had Jriuntly asked Jinnah whether he really 
wanted these disturbances to be slopped, or whether the 
issue of such an appeal would put the Moslem League at 
a political disadvantage. Jinnah had ultimately agreed 
to join in. 


I was asked to give the Press a background warning 
that, since the Viceroy was examining a large number of 
different plans for the future of India, the Press should 
be on their guard against assuming that the plan known 
and believed to be under discussion on any day was the 
one most likely to be decided on. The plan which was 
receiving most careful examination was, of course, the 
Cabinet Mission Plan. 

We had another policy discussion. Jsmay spoke of a 
talk he had had with Jinnah. He shows himself wholly 
unaware of the administrative implications of his policy. 
The British were liquidators. All would be well if Paki- 
stan was conceded, but Jinnah spoke of his fear th^t all 
he would get would be a "moth-eaten Pakistan". 

After the Staff Meeting I went round and saw Jinnah at 
his home. His house at 10 Aurangzeb Road looks rather 
like a mosque, and is full of red and black inlay. On his 
mantelpiece was a silver map of India on an oak plaque. 
Pakistan was marked in green. He was much more cor- 
dial than on the first encounter. We discussed the Press 
situation. The All-Jndia Kdilors" Conference, he said, 
was entirely Hindu. Of the Moslem papers there was 
only Dawn, which was under his proprietorship. "Al- 
though you may not believe it, 1 have never exercised 
direct influence over its policy, and have always regarded 
'that as the Editor's job and within his competence. " "The 
Editor," he added, without a smile, "has always been in 
agreement with my views/' He spoke at length on the 
completely false reports of the Noakhali killings of Hindus 
by Moslems. These were first described as a massacre of 
many thousands, bflt he claimed they turned out to be 
iitlle more than a hundred killed and a hundred wound- 
ed. Background talks with the Press in Jndia were almost 
impossible. He spoke of his experience in London, where 
his off-the-record remarks were completely respected. 

In a note of the interview for Mountbatten I wrote as 
follows: — 



"In view of the inaccurate and inflammatory nature of 
some recent Press comment, 1 said that I had in mind to 
recommend that you should send a message to the All- 
India Editors* Conference urging the need for restraint, 
etc. 1 wanted to see what his reaction would be: It was 
not particularly favourable. If J may presume to advise,' 
he said, 'His Excellency should press on with his work, 
reach a decision quickly, and avoid exhortations. It is 
above all his sacred duty to uphold law and order.' The 
interview was helpful in so far as it will enable me to 
make contact with the Moslem Press under favourable 
auspices, but discouraging as indicating that the chances 
of any working arrangement between the Hindu and the 
Moslem Press are very small indeed,' * 

J had tea this afternoon with the Nehru household. 
Indira and Krishna Menon recalled the origins of the 
Moslem League and its leadership — pointing out that 
Jinnah himself was a Hindu by birth. The league, 
Krishna said, only began to mean something when Con- 
gress became a Direct Action movement. It grew, he 
alleged, under British encouragement. Krishna wants me 
to go to the States Conference at Gwalior, where Nehru 
is handing over the Presidency to Sheikh Abdullah, the 
Moslem Congress leader in Kashmir, who is at present in 
gaol there. It is not only the political temperature that 
is rising. 7*he thermometer reached over 10p°F. yester- 
day. As Nehru aptly remarked to me T 'The trouble is 
we get hot by thinking about the heat." 

In the evening we had a big State dinner for the British 
Residents in the Indian States, who have been called to 
Delhi for consultation with Mountbatten in his capacity 
as Crown Representative. The Stale rooms were opened 
up and the cobwebs dusted olT Lady Willingdonls Persian 
ceiling. Eighty-four guests sat down to dinner, and the 
silver plate was brought out, which somehow did not im- 
prove the flavour of the food. Portraits of former Vice- 
roys — Minto, Mayo, Halifax and Reading — look down 



upon the swelling scene. The string band plays a strange 
blend of Gilbert and Sullivan and Indian rhythms. 

viceroy's house, new dflhi, Saturday, 12th April, 1947 
Mountbatten reported on his latest meeting with Jinnah, 
who was apparently much shaken when Mountbatten 
failed to react in any way to his otfer, dramatically pre- 
sented, to bring Pakistan into the Commonwealth. In 
our general discussion to-day the alternatives of "Plan 
Balkan" versus "Plan Union" were frankly and fully dis- 
cussed. Mountbatten went to the root of the dilemma, 
and put the proposition that he should try to get Congress 
to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan in full, and then con- 
front Jinnah with coming in or accepting a truncated Paki- 
stan. George Abcll was sceptical of Congress changing 
its policy. It had already forced the Mosfem League to 
retreat by the pressure it had exerted on the northern 

Gandhi has written to Mountbatten that his own plan 
is not acceptable to Congress, and that he is personally 
handing over all future negotiations to the Working Com- 
mittee. Mountbatten says he will try to get Gandhi to 
slay on and exert his influence in favour of full Congress 
acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan. He feels that, 
deep down, desire for union still exerts a powerful pull 
on Comrress. 

Incidentally there was a charming postscript to Gandhi's 
proposal that Mrs. Asaf Ali should meet Lady Mount- 
batten. Lady Mountbatten at once wrote off an invita- 
tion, which Mrs. Asaf Ali duly declined. The next day 
when Gandhi came for a meeting with the Viceroy Mrs. 
Asaf Ali was with him. "I hear she refused," he said, 
"so I have brought her with me." 

viceroy's house, new delhi, Monday, 14th April, 1947 
The Press speculators have been busy. An article in 
the Hindustan Times this morning has forecast the issue 
of the "Peace Appeal" on which Mountbatten has been 



working. It indicates that it will shortly be issued over 
the signatures of Gandhi, Jinnah and Kripalani, as the 
President of Congress. One of the big points at issue 
is Congress's insistence on including Kripalani, and 
Jinnah's unwillingness to do so. Ismay and Mieville con- 
sider that the Hindustan Times article may well have 
wrecked the chances of persuading Jinnah to sign the 
document which has been prepared. Mountbatten gave 
strict instructions to me to point out that the article had 
of course been published without his knowledge and had 
caused him great annoyance, as indeed it has. He is also 
writing to Nehru to find out how the leak occurred. 

After many spasms of uncertainty Mountbalten's pa- 
tience and will-power have prevailed, and this afternoon i 
havc*been able to take round to the Ministry of Inform- 
ation the original document over Gandhi's and Jinnah's 
joint signatures. Jinnah has gained his point over Kripa- 
lani, who has not been invited to sign. Actually Gandhi 
wrote his name twice, once in English and once in Urdu. 

The tone and liming of this Appeal are a great personal 
triumph for Mountbatten and give impetus to his whole 
effort to produce an acceptable political plan. It enhances 
his prestige and it exploits to the maximum the initial 
^ood-will surrounding him. It is designed to create a 
detente without which no political solution will be worth 
a pin\s fee. It is the first victory for his open diplomacy. 

The message is couched in stern and forceful terms, 
which are urgently needed. The call tor avoidance, both 
in speech and wiiting, of any incitement to acts of vio- 
lence and disorder is particularly timely. As each day 
passes certain of the more communally minded Press com- 
mentators become increasingly provocative in their langu- 
age, stirring up hatreds they cannot control and heroics 
they are never likely to perform. At Mounlbatlen\s re- 
quest I have gone very carefully into the Ministry of In- 
formation's proposals for disseminating the Appeal. The 
engine of All India Radio will be at full throttle, and 
at my suggestion to-night's release will include a photo- 



stat copy. Ambitious; plans are in hand to show it at 
cinemas and to distribute it by leaflet from the air over 
the disturbed areas. 

The planned pattern of events now centres round a 
Simla house-party early in May — the probable guests to 
be Nehru, Jinnah, Palel, Liaquat, Kripalani, Baldev Singh, 
and the possibles Gandhi, Bhopal and Bikaner. 

To-morrow the Governor's Conference is due to take 
place, following closely upon a useful session with the 
Residents. Mountbatlen is not likely to put his Plan into 
final shape until he has heard the Governors' full and 
frank views on the draft which he has already sent for 
their consideration. On the eve of the Conference the 
broad principles of Mountbalten's Plan arc: 

(1) that the responsibility for Partition, if it comes, 
is to rest fairly upon the Indians themselves; 

(2) the Provinces, generally speaking, shall have the 
riizht to determine their own future. 

(3) Bengal and the Punjab arc to be nolionally parti- 
tioned for voting purposes; 

(4) the predominantly Moslem Sylhet district in 
Assam is to be given the option of joining the Moslem 
Province created by a partitioned Bengal; 

(5) General I- lections are to be held in the North- 
west F rontier Province. 

Some of the Governors have arrived at Viceroy's House, 
and Mountbatlen has already had talks with Sir Frederick 
Bourne (Central Provinces), Sir John Colville (Bombay), 
and Sir Archibald Nye (Madras). By the time they are 
all here the Mounth^iUcns will be entertaining under one 
roof eleven Governors, their wives, private secretaries and 

A.D.CYs a formidable gathering even for Viceroy's 

House, with its three hundred and forty rooms and one 
and a half miles of corridors, to hold. 

Sir Mirza Ismail, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, 
was called in for the talk with Bourne when they dis- 



cussed the very tricky question of the status of Berar. This 
is part of the Nizam of Hyderabad's hereditary domains — 
indeed, his heir is entitled the Prince of Berar- but is ad- 
ministered by the Central Provinces. Congress, will cer- 
tainly lay claim to Berar as part of the Central Provinces, 
while the Nizam will certainly want Berar back. Mirza 
Ismail intimated that the Nizam may shortly be seeing 
Jinnah. As for himself, he says that he is rapidly losing 
the Nizam's confidence and does not expect to be in 
office much longer. 

L sat next to Ismail at the Mountbattens' lunch-party. 
He is a Moslem of moderate opinion, sober judgement and 
high intellect, who is therefore in a somewhat isolated 
position. He spoke quite freely to me about the uneasy 
role of Premier to the N'zam. The maximum period of 
power one could hope for was about four years. The only 
exception to this had been old Sir Akbar Hydari, who had 
clung on for nearly fourteen years. The Ni/am\s state- 
craft consisted largely of weaving complex conspiracies 
against his own Prime Ministers and ultimately depriving 
them of the power he had wrested for them. It was, by 
Ismail's account, a depressing cycle of self-defeating in- 
trigue. Also at the lunch was Compton Mackenzie, who 
vj covering the world's bal tie-fronts to produce an official 
account of the Indian Army's contribution to the war. 

Colville, it seems, began by ollcring to resign, but has 
been prevailed upon lo slay on a little longer. Mount- 
batten said that Colville was likely lo be both wrong and 
right ir his objections to the present policy. Wrong, be- 
cause only short notice and a time limit could make the 
Indian leaders face up to reality and right because there 
was not enough time to launch a new constitution, 



vichroy's housk Ni-w dllhi, Tuesday, 15th April, 1947 
Tin 7 Governor's Conhrfnct opened lo-day with the 
boost of encouragement provided by the banner headlines 
announcing the Gandhi-Jinnah AppeaJ. I attended the first 
session, which took place in the sombre, panelled Council 
Chamber. It was an impressive spectacle, with the eJeven 
Governors seated in anti -clockwise order of precedence 
round the large oval table. Mountbatten's opening speech 
was a very fluent and persuasive appeal for loyalty both 
to the letter and spirit of the British Government's deci- 
sion. He stressed, just in case there was any doubting 
Thomas in his midst, that June 1948 was a firm departure 

There was full and frank discussion on the evacuation 
of Europeans. Colville and Nyc, Governors of the two 
Senior Presidencies, were both robust on this issue, but 
Sir f:van Jenkins, the very brilliant Governor of the Punjab 

George Abcll's predecessor as P.S.V. to Wavcll — said 
he felt bound to draw attention to the seriousness of the 
situation in the Punjab. Sir Hugh Dow, Governor of 
Bihar, said there were only fifty European officials in his 
State, covering a population of forty million. So it was 
not surprising, perhaps, that there was little law or order 
in his part of the world. Sir Andrew Clow, the retiring 
Governor of Assam, spoke about the planters, and said 
there were more JV>ung wives than ever before enjoying 
the sunshine, food and servants. 

J. D. T\son, Secretary to the Governor of Bengal, Sir 
Frederick Burrows (who was ill and unable to be at the 
Conference), reported that there were twenty thousand 




Europeans in Bengal and that he was seriously worried 
about the five thousand in the outlying districts. He fell 
that the chances of maintaining law and order in the Pro- 
vince were very slim. Communist agitation -stronger here 
than anywhere else— was definitely anti-European, and he 
believed that the Europeans were not looking ahead. 

Mountbatten stressed that there was little chance of any 
support from the British Cabinet for any legislation to 
prevent people coming to India. The final vote on this 
delicate subject was in favour of using persuasion with 
regard to the movement of Europeans, with the Punjab 
asking for enforcement powers later. 

There followed detailed consideration of the vexed ques- 
tion of compensation. Mountbatten gave the history of 
the negotiations to date. Colville — "George, the auto- 
matic pilot", as he called himself, to cover the various 
occasions he has served as acting Viceroy -confirmed what 
Mountbatten had to say about the difficulty of getting 
compensation tor Indians past the Interim Government. 
Trivcdi and Hydari both felt Indians would, on purely 
patriotic grounds, wish to remain on and let compensation 
go" Mountbatten had some interesting things to say about 
the ambiguities and uncertainties of the Commonwealth 
link, referring in particular to Fire. Sir John Maffey had 
told him that the Letter of Credence of the Irish repre- 
sentative to Hitler during the war was actually signed 
"George R.I.". 

In the afternoon session discussion was broken down 
to allow for reports by Governors on their individual 
Provinces. Sir Olaf Caroe, speaking about the North- 
west Frontier, which at the moment seems to be the point 
of most acute political crisis, wants an election. Dr. Khan 
Sahib, the Premier who, with his more famous brother 
Abdul Ghaffar Khan, "the Frontier Gandhi", leads the 
pro-Congress Red Shirt group, does not. All the pro- 
Moslem League Moslems who would stand to gain most 
from an election are in gaol. Mountbatten's advice is 
"hold your hand, if possible", but Caroe looks tense and 



tired, and is clearly weighed down by his heavy 

Jenkins gave a lucid analysis of the implications of 
Punjab partition, showing just how the Moslem versus 
non-Moslem issue was complicated by Sikh and Hindu 
Jat claims. Tyson similarly examined the prospects for 
Bengal, if under partition. East Bengal, he felt, would 
become a rural slum. There were some twenty-five mil- 
lion Hindus in Bengal forty-five per cent of the popula- 
tion and they all wanted to be absorbed into Hindustan. 
The concept of East Bengal was unacceptable to many 
local Moslems. The relationship between Jinnah and the 
present Moslem Premier of Bengal, Suhrawardy, was far 
from cordial. Suhrawardy is frightened of partition and 
is ready to play with the Hindus. Jenkins, too, spoke of 
the possible growth of anti -Pakistan opinion in the Punjab 
and Bengal. The local Moslems would be satisfied to run 
Bengal as a Moslem-controlled Province. 

The Governor of Bihar drew attention lo the concentra- 
tion" of wealth, mineral and iron. The industrial develop- 
ment of Chota Nagpur was part of Suhrawardy's concept 
for the building up of an independent Bengal. Provincial 
devolution would, he felt, in the case of Bihar have wide 
repercussions. In the general discussion it was felt that 
a Sind-Punjab Pakistan was economically feasible. Mount- 
batten considered, however, that Fast Bengal might con- 
tract out and that also the North-west Frontier was a 

vktroy's norsi, niav dm. hi. 
Wednesday, 16th April, 1947 
At the resumed Governors' Conference to-day Jenkins 
spoke about the need for an "Operation Solomon" for 
the Punjab and put forward the possibility of a statistical 
boundary commission. There was a big discussion on 
the whole draft Partition Plan, which Mountbatten had 
put together in time for the Conference. Tt is clear, from 
what The Governors have lo say, that by far the greater 



part of the sub-continent is calm and quiet and ready to 
accept any reasonable solution. 

I had lunch at the Imperial with Panikkar, who stressed 
that the Constitution of the Moslem League had been 
weighted heavily in favour of Moslems living in minority 
areas. This simple fact, he claimed, had enabled Jinnah 
to bring extra pressure on Moslem members living in majo- 
rity areas. Bengali loyalties, he said, were increasingly 
cutting across those of Hindustan, and would require care- 
ful handling. He also argued strongly the need for an 
Indian equivalent to the British Privy Council to which 
unpredictable political and judicial problems could be 
referred . 

Mountbatten has had a talk with Baldev Singh, the De- 
fence Minister, who, in the presence of Jenkins, the 
Governor of the Punjab, denied being the treasurer of 
the Sikhs* appeal fund, which is undoubtedly being sub- 
scribed for warlike and unconstitutional purposes. 

Baldev sought advice on the Army nationalisation 
scheme. What chance was there of British Services re- 
maining on after June 1948? Mountbatten replied that 
it all depended on whether India wants to be in the Com- 
monwealth. A face-saving formula is needed to cover 
the Congress resolution passed prior to 20th February to 
set up a sovereign independent Republic. Baldev's general 
attitude goes to confirm that partition is new the only 
solution acceptable to all parties. 

vio.roy's not si., nlw ui-uii, Iriday, ISih April, 1947 
Mountbatten was in buoyant mood at to-day's Staff 
Meeting. He had an interesting talk with Krishna Menon, 
who look upon himself part of the original responsibility 
for the Independent Sovereign Republic formula. The 
search., however, for another formula which wilt ensure 
a close link with Britain is being actively pursued by him 
and some of the Congress leaders. Menon has explained 
how initiative on Congress's part is impossible; even the 
semblance of it would lose them their position; it must 



come in some way from us. Jn the course of the discus- 
sion 1 said I felt that, at the military level, the analogy 
aud advantages of the Combined Chiefs of Staff procedure 
in the war should not be overlooked, and Mountbatten 
agrees that this should certainly be kept in mind. 

viceroy's housk, nlw dllhi, Saturday, 19th April, 1947 
Mountbatten gave us an alarming but none the less 
amusing account of his interview with the Sikh leaders,. 
He found himself confronted by some very scruffy old 
gentlemen with long beards and large kirpans who put on 
their glasses, looking just like benign professors full of 
peaceful intentions, but telling a few fibs in the process. 
They all insisted that he must partition the Punjafi, and 
said the Sikhs were the principal victims in the Rawalpindi 

Mountbatten mentioned the interview he had yesterday ' 
with Dr. Matthai, who had stressed that although res- 
ponsible Indian leaders were now generally making dis- 
passionate and temperate speeches, the Press was causing 
much trouble and was in his view an irresponsible and 
inflammatory element in the situation. Matthai suggested 
that the Viceroy should call together all editors and appeal 
to them to lone down their comment and implement in 
their own way the Gandhi-Jinnah Appeal, Dr. Matthai 
thought that this would have a tremendous effect. Mount- 
batten asked for mv comment. I said that 1 doubted 
whether this approach was either feasible or even desirable. 
It would be physically very difficult to bring in all the 
editors concerned from distant parts, and when they had 
arrived at Viceregal request they would expect to be told 
news of some firm decision. They would, to say the least, 
be deflated at receiving only an exhortation. Moreover, 
I suggested the desirability of taking the matter up with 
Patel in the first instance in his capacity as Minister of 

At his meeting yesterday with Dr. Khan Sahib the sug- 
gestion was mooted that Mountbatten should pay an early 



visit to the North-west Frontier Province. The idea hither- 
to had been to postpone tours until the major Plan had been 
completed and approved, but the Frontier situation seems 
to call for special treatment beforehand. In our general 
policy discussion the Dominion Status issue was further 
thrashed out. Mountbatten pointed out that Nazimuddin, 
the Moslem League leader in Fast Bengal, was jusl as 
adamant as Jinnah about Pakistan. Ismay stressed that 
we were engaged in creating two Pakistans, which drew 
from Mountbatten the comment that whatever its impli- 
cations he was beginning to think Pakistan was inevitable. 

In the evening the Mountbattens gave a small dance in 
the walled garden by the swimming-pool for Pamela's 
eighteenth birthday. The fall of fountains and the glim- 
mer (if fairy-lights, the air soft and fresh, ihe dark -green 
cypress trees, red roses climbing on white walls, and the 
red and gold of the Viceregal servants- here was all one 
could ask of an enchanted garden. 

viciroy's nousr, ni:w oh hi, Monday, 2ht April, W47 
Mountbatten rehearsed his afternoon meeting with 
Liaqual, indicating that his final decision as to whether 
there should be a fresh election in the North-west Frontier 
Province would depend upon his estimate of the Moslem 
League's ability to form a responsible Ministry. He said 
he would make it abundantly clear that in spite of ap- 
pearances he would not in fact yield to force or to the 
threat of force. 

1 have been asked to prepare a Press note announcing 
the forthcoming Frontier tour. 

The Mountbatiens eave a small dinner <-it the House for 
the Brockmans, Nicholls and ourselves, which was 
directly preceded by a garden-party to the Viceregal 
establishment. Mountbaftcn told us that he hajd been 
much shaken to learn that the three hundred and seventy- 
five guests were all of the officer cadre, and that there 
were in all some seven thousand persons on the Viceregal 
estate. He said he had told some of them that they ought 



to have a Mayor and had then added that he supposed 
he was their Mayor! This seemed to go down well with 
the guests, and showed, he felt, that the Indian had a sense 
of humour, or at least the good manners to laugh at the 
right time. 

While we were in the drawing-room before dinner Lady 
Mounlbatten confessed that she found herself continually 
trying to move the heavy teak-framed chairs and sofas, 
only to be no less continually discovered by the servants 
in this undignified attempt! In this connection she quoted 
the experience of Lady Linlithgow, whose dog had had 
an unfortunate accident on the Viceregal carpet shortly 
before the guests were due to arrive. It took so long to 
find a servant of sufficiently low caslc to clear up th^ mess 
that she was finally obliged to deal with it herself, and 
was caught by her guests and servants in the act! 

Durinu dinner an officer's name was mentioned, and 
Lady Mount batten exclaimed, "Let us see him by all 
means, but don't let him arrange any more tours for us." 
She then told a story of a trip in the Arakan when the 
said hapless officer forgot that the river was tidal and she 
and Lli/abeth Ward had to leave their jeep and swim for 
it to keep their engagement! 

Mounlbatten told me that the interview with Liaquat 
had been very interesting. Liaquat had spoken with much 
frankness about Wave! I, saying they all knew that he was 
a very great soldier, but he had undoubtedly made his 
political position impossible for himself with the Indian 
leaders when they all went to London last December. On 
that occasion he had apparently taken an apologetic line, 
by asserting that he was merely a soldier and that he had 
made mistakes. After such a confession it became obvi- 
ous, Liaquat said, that he could no longer carry on. and 
it was immediately after this that the idea of a successor 
began to come into the picture. 

Mountbatten told us he felt it was a very great pity that, 
if he had to have this job, he could not have taken it on 
eighteen months ago. He might then have been able to 


influence events, but now with the time at our disposal 
this was almost impossible. There had been a catastrophic 
deterioration in the situation during the past few months, 
and political solutions must be found within the time limit, 
and therefore before one could really hope to influence 

Jn a general talk about the Press 1 used the occasion 
to stress the importance of hard news ahead of time which 
enabled us to control speculation, and mentioned in this 
connection our success with the Governors* Conference. 
I also underlined my conviction of the importance of 
Patel in the situation. Altogether Mountbatten was in 
very good form throughout the evening. 

vkhroy's house, nt.w dm. in, Tuesday, 22nd April, 1947 
Mountbatten said to-day that representatives of ap- 
proximately half of the inhabitants of India had already 
asked to be allowed to remain within the Commonwealth. 
They included the Moslem League, the Scheduled Castes 
and the Indian States — although all the States' subjects 
might not be of the same opinion as their Rulers. All 
these applicants, he added, seemed to think they were 
doing Great Britain a favour by asking to stay in. Mount- 
batten went on to inquire whether it was considered that 
there was any possibility of graining some form of Do- 
minion Status to India as a whole, or more probably to 
the separate parts of India, in the near future He en- 
visaged the setting up of a Defence Council and a Gover- 
nor-General as chairman with a casting vote. Jsmay 
thought we should not rule out unilateral application by 
Pakistan for Commonwealth membership. Mountbatten 
directed that planning for the grant of Dominion Status 
to India, whether united or divided, before June, and 
possibly by January 1948, should continue concurrently 
with the Plan for ihe main decision. 

He has come round to the view to-day that the Cabinet 
Mission Plan can somehow be resurrected in a new form 
and name. As originally presented, it was psychologically 



wrong. If the, principle of iwo sovereign States could be 
accepted, union might be achieved through sovereignty. 
We had to recognise that the Moslem League were pre- 
pared to give up the B and C Groups (full Pakistan area) 
and to accept a truncated Pakistan if a real free centre 
went with it. 


Wednesday, 23rd April, 1947 
This morning Moumbattcn has had a three-hour session 
with Jinnah. 

He seemed lo be resigned to the partition of the Punjab 
and Bengal. He did not ask what the boundaries would 
be, and Mountbatten did not tell him. He is putting out 
k ':m appeal to reason"' on the North-west Frontier Pro- 
vince and is clearly relieved at not being asked to call off 
Direct Action. He told Mountbatten, "Frankly, Your 
Fxccllency, the Hindus are impossible. They always want 
seventeen annas for the rupee/'' 

Maulana Azad, the leading Congress Moslem, has put 
forward a new formula. It is that Mountbatlcn's personal 
interpretation of the British Government's statement fol- 
lowing the London meeting with the Indian Leaders and 
Wavell last December on the right of Provinces lo opt out 
of Groups, would be acceptable. He bases this on a dic- 
tum of Gandhi's, "The sole referee of what is or is not 
in the interests of India as a whole will be Mountbatten 
in his personal capacity/' 

vktroy's housi, nl;w diijii, Friday, 25th April, 1947 
At to-day's Staff ^Meeting the first draft of the Plan was 
considered, but no clear concept for its final projection on 
the Parties and the public emerged, ian Scott raised an 
important debating point, favouring the widest publicity 
for it prior to its submission lo the Working Committees 
of the two Parties, who would then have the searchlight 
of world attention focused upon them. This technique 
might have the effect of drawing the more moderate ele- 



ments in both Congress and Moslem League together again 
to preserve the bare essentials of unity. 

Mountbatten agreed that it was most important that 
with the issue of the announcement the impression should 
not be created thai partition was a foregone conclusion, 
but that the question had been referred for decision to 
the will of the people. To improve the chances of a return 
to a united India, he felt that an escape clause should be 
included in the announcement, and he would consider as 
counting as a form of union any plan in which the centre 
dealt with the same subjects as in the Cabinet Mission 
Plan— namely, External Affairs, Defence and Communi- 
cations. The crux of the matter seemed to him to be that 
in the. Cabinet Mission Plan the Hindu majority at the 
centre would be able permanently to outvote the Moslem 
minority and use the reserved subjects to subdue them. 
The alternative was that the representatives of Pakistan 
and Hindustan should come together on the basis of parity. 
If this form of a united India could be obtained it might 
be possible for the Punjab, Bengal and Assam to remain 
united. Abcll pointed out that it would not be real parity, 
which depended on the relative strength of the two so- 
vereign Stales. Mountbatten replied that he realised this 
point. "My object is to create the effect of two sovereign 
States (ir separate blocks negotiating at the centre rather 
than having a system of majority voting." 

Among the various points raised by Mountbatten, whose 
mind ranged over the whole problem with much vigour 
and originality, were forebodings about the future of Cal- 
cutta. He felt that the Moslems would be bound to de- 
mand a plebiscite for it and that its fate would become 
a major issue. It would, however, be most undesirable 
to lay down the procedure of self-determination here, 
which might well give the wrong answer. 

He reports that Patel has been complaining* "You 
won't govern yourself and you won't let us govern." But 
in fact we are aiming at a date as early as 19th May for 
the decisive meeting with the Leaders. 



vickroy's house, new delhi, Saturday, 26th April, 1947 
Mount batten has decided to send Ismay and George 
Abell back to London with the first draft of the Plan, to 
hammer it out clause by clause with the Government and 
officials concerned. In giving background guidance about 
this trip, 1 am to explain that one of Mountbatten's princi- 
pal objects in having Ismay and Jvlieville on his staff is in 
order to improve liaison with Whitehall and to enable 
them to visit London alternately at approximately two- 
monthly intervals. It is understood that the first to return 
will be Lord Ismay. 

The Commonwealth issue is looming large. There has 
been a fair indication of Patcl's policy on this subject in 
the leading article of to-day's Hindustan Times. Ismay 
drew attention to the relevant extract, which runs as 
follows: — 

"If there is a settlement between the Congress and the 
League as a result of which the Muslim majority areas 
arc allowed to constitute themselves into separate so- 
vereign States, we have no doubt that the Union will not 
stand in the way of Britain establishing contacts with those 
States, it must be clearly understood, however, that the 
Indian Union will consider it a hostile act if there is any 
attempt by Britain to conclude any treaty or alliance in- 
volving military or political clauses." 

Mountbat ten's, line on this is that he has received no 
instructions as to the attitude he should adopt in the event 
of one or more parts of India expressing a desire to remain 
within xhe Commonwealth. But His Majesty's Govern- 
ment had clearly enjoined him not to enter into any dis- 
cussions on this matter which might imperil the chances 
of Indian unity; 4o attain which had always been and 
would remain his first ambition and determination. 

Bob Slimson, the B.B.C.'s special correspondent in 
India, has shown me his latest script relayed throughout 
the day on all the B.B.C. news bulletins. '"'One most im- 
portant fact." he said, "in the Indian situation, which 
tends to be overlooked in the rush of day-to-day news, is 



that India's; attitude towards Britain has undergone a fun- 
damental change in the last two months. The good-will 
established by Britain's 'Quit India' statement has been 
consolidated by the new Viceroy in five industrious 

viceroy's housl, NLW Dixi it, Sunday, 27 th April, 1947 
George Abell is back from his trip to Lahore, where he 
reports a serious situation. Jenkins, probably the ablest 
administrator in India, considers there is a grave danger 
of civil war. When asked by George whether there was 
anything else we could do but leave in June 1948, Jenkins 
admitted that there was no alternative, but there was a 
real peril that we would be handing over to chaos. 

Prom Calcutta comes the news that John Christie, Joint 
Private Secretary to the Viceroy, has failed to sell the 
Bengal section of the Plan to Burrows, who was standing 
out for the doctrine of a free city of Calcutta. He describes 
its installation after June 1948 as mandatory. This seems 
to be a strange word to apply to a situation over which 
we shall have no control whatever at that time. 

CHAP11 r six 


Monday, 28th April, 1947 
Early this morning 1 set off by air with the Viceregal 
party for Peshawar. It was a bumpy journey, and Pamela 
and myself in particular were both feeling somewhat green 
on arrival. The most impressive spectacle on the way up 
was the mighty Nanga Parbat. which we could see from 
the air over a hundred miles away to the north, rising in 
perfect symmetry to some twenty-five thousand feet, over- 



topping by at least ten thousand feet the surrounding 
peaks. We touched down just after midday. 

On arrival at Government House, where we were anti- 
cipating a nice quiet Junch prior to an afternoon of steady 
conference, we found ourselves confronting a situation of 
crisis bordering on panic. Sir Olaf Caroe, the Governor, 
in a stale of some agitation, advised us that there was an 
immense Moslem League demonstration less than a mile 
away, which was to place its grievance before the Viceroy 
and was ready to risk breaking the law by forming a pro- 
cession and marching on Government House. The only 
alternative, according to Caroe, was for the Viceroy to 
forestall this plan by marching on them and showing him- 
self to the multitude. The demonstrators were estimated 
at well over seventy thousand, and had been gathering 
from the most remote parts of the Province, many of them 
having been on the march for several days. Mountbatten 
had a brief "council of war'* with Caroe and the Premier, 
Dr. Khan Sahib, and it was agreed that the Viceroy should 
show himself without delay. 

Mountbatten thereupon drove olT to the demonstration, 
Lady Mountbatten, with great courage, insisting on going 
with him. The crowd confronting us was certainly for- 
midable. We climbed up the railway embankment close 
to the historic Lorl Bala Hissar. and looked down upon 
a vast concourse gathered at Cunningham Park and 
stretching away into distant fields. There was much gesti- 
culation and the waving of innumerable but illegal green 
flags with the white crescent of Pakistan, accompanied by 
a steady chant of "Pakistan Zindabad". 

Within a few minutes of our arrival, however, the brood- 
ing tension lifted# The slogan changed; ' Mountbatten 
Zindabad", could be heard and cheers were raised. Sullen 
faces smiled. Lor nearly half an hour Mountbatten, in 
his khaki bush shirt, and Lady Mountbatten, also in a 
bush shirt, stood waving to the crowd, which had a sur- 
prisingly large number of women and children in its midst. 
Any sort of speech was out of the question. But the im- 



pact of iheir friendly, confident personalities on that fana- 
tical assembly had to be seen to be believed. 

As we swarmed down the embankment and drove back 
to a well-earned lunch, the relief of the Governor and 
local officials could not be concealed. They told us that 
it would have been quite beyond the resources of the 
local police and military to have deflected the crowd peace- 
ably if they had made up their collective mind to invade 
Government House. As it was, after seeing the Mount- 
battens they struck camp and returned to their homes. 

After lunch Mountbaltcn began a series of exacting in- 
terviews, f was present for two of them, one with Khan 
Sahib and his Cabinet of four Ministers, and the other with 
a deputation of local Hindu residents. He also met the 
local Moslem League leaders, for whom a special dis- 
pensation was made to leave gaol in order to see him. 
Superimposed upon this conflict, which was in itself suffi- 
ciently serious to become the focal point of the wider 
struggle between Congress and the Moslem League, was 
the very difficult relationship between the Governor and 
his Congress Prime Minister. This friction also had wider 
implications at the national level. 

Mountballen's diplomatic resilience was shown to good 
advantage in his encounter with Khan Sahib and his col- 
leagues, at which the Governor was also present. He be- 
gan by saying how grateful he was for the opportunity ol 
meeting them in person. He would ask them and they 
could ask him questions. He appreciated Khan Sahib's 
public-spirited advice that he should go to meet the de- 
monstrators. He had in fact done nothing but stand on 
the embankment. He had previously refused Jinnah per- 
mission to organise a procession to Government House. 
Khan Sahib, on his side, was at pains to confirm that he 
had called off a procession of Red Shirts — the Congress 
mass movement in the Province and counterpart of the 
Moslem League's Green Shirt organisation. 

Mountbalten added that he had come to turn over India 
to Indians: to transfer power in accordance with the will 



of the people. He was already devising machinery for 
dealing with the Punjab and Bengal, but, he added, "The 
Frontier position involves particular difficulty for me. I 
shall be telling the Moslem League that I will not yield 
to violence. I tell you privately that I think elections are 
necessary, but J can make no firm guarantee to the Mos- 
lems that there will be any. Jinnah's promise is that if 
there is any election there will be no violence. You must 
trust my integrity. Jinnah accepts the position, and is 
asking his followers to call oft civil disobedience." Mount- 
batten asked about the general control exercised by the 
Moslem League High Command. The reply was that the 
local Moslem League had run riot and taken charge. At 
the last election the Moslem League had definitely been 
defeated on the Pakistan issue, and even Rab Nishtar, 
a Moslem Lcaeue leader of the first rank at the national 
level, was not returned. Then the Congress policy of 
"Quit India" had won, but that cry no longer held the 
people together, and many who had originally supported 
Congress were now looking ahead and wondering whether 
they would come under Hindu control. 

When Khan Sahib turned to the question of Pathanistan 
the discussion became somewhat disjointed and explosive. 
Gandhi has for some time been actively inlercsted in this 
concept, and has lately been stressing its virtues with re- 
newed vigour. If it were to prevail it would create a 
new frontier nationalism cutting across the Province's com- 
munal and political solidarity with Pakistan. "If you 
destroy the Palhan nation," warned Khan Sahib, "terrible 
things will happen." 

Mountbalten went on to ask why there was no coalition 
government in the North-west Frontier Province. Khan 
Sahib replied heatedly, "If Congress want a coalition, I 
shall not remain in." Mountbalten hastened to add, "i 
was asking for information only." "Our people are very 
poor." Khan Sahib continued. 'The Moslem League 
here represent only self-interest and a very privileged class 



of Khans." Caroe pointed out, "There are some very 
wealthy Congress supporters as well/' 

Mountbatten inquired about the state of communal feel- 
ing in the Province. Caroe replied, "The Moslem masses 
are protecting Hindus and Sikhs, except, of course, in 
Hazara. The hearts and minds of the Moslems are 
sound." Khan Sahib alleged that Moslems had been al- 
lowed by officials to break the law. Caroe replied firmly 
that he knew of no single instance where officials were not 
trying to do their duty, but they were always blamed. 

Following a discussion on constitutional procedure, with 
complaints from the Governor of unjustifiable executive 
pressure on the part of the Prime Minister, and from the 
Primfc Minister of interference in the Government on the 
part of the Governor, Mountbatten intervened to say, "I 
am out here to do a job with no axe to grind. I want to 
transfer power in terms of the will of the people. Ideally 
I would have a plebiscite here, but there is no time." He 
then discussed the implications of demission to the Pro- 
vinces, partition generally and in relation to the North- 
west Frontier Province and the solemn duty placed upon 
him. "My problem", he added, "is whether to hold an 
election before we go, or whether law and order are suffi- 
cient for the Government to hold on." He suggested a 
joint committee of the two High Commands to advise on 
elections. The British, he said, always carried the rap, 
but he reiterated that his mandate was impartiality. Al- 
together it was a tense and taut session, which tested 
Mountbatten's resources to the full. 

No sooner was this meeting with the Ministers over than 
we entered into a session with local Hindu representatives. 
They explained that their deputation was more communal 
than political or anti-Moslem League, and they made it 
clear that they were not concerned with the fate of the 
Ministry, but with the life and security of innocent Hindus 
and Sikhs. Mountbatten: "f am trying to get at the 
facts. Do you support the Government?" The Hindus: 
"We are prepared to live at peace under any Government." 
M. M.-4 



IVf ountbatten : "I am glad of this sensible attitude. 1 am 
trying to act constitutionally." There were complaints 
about the lack of police, who were stretched to the utmost. 
Four Brigades were at hand, but there were murders in 
Peshawar and lack of any effective police action. Mount- 
batten stressed the danger of using soldiers in place of 
police. The two had different functions. He added that 
there were at this moment more troops in the North-west 
Frontier Province than anywhere else in India, and Caroe 
added that more use was being made of them than at any 
time in his twenty-five years" experience, even including 
1930-31. Mountbalten said that he was out to get the 
larger solution and end the uncertainly, but it would have 
to be a solution acceptable to all. 

1 was not able to slay on for the third meeting, this 
time wiih the Moslem League leaders specially released 
from gaol for the occasion. Among ihe delegation were 
the young and fanatical Pir of Manki Sharif and Khan 
Abdul Ouayyum Khan. I understand from Ian Scott that 
they spoke at great length and with the utmost vehemence. 
Mountbatten has wisely given instructions that they should 
all be lodged in one gaol, so lhat they can meet and con- 
sult each other. He also agreed with their proposal that 
they should be allowed to go to Delhi on parole for con- 
sultation with Jinnah. 

I was for some time heavily engaged in drafting and 
securing approval for Press notes covering the day's ex- 
citing but exacting activities, and was only able to come 
in at the tail end of a reception given by Dr. Khan Sahib. 
Later in the evening there was a dinner-party at Govern- 
ment House attended by all members of the Government 
and leading civil and military officials. Paying his tribute 
as one of the guests at this last bout of Viceregal splendour 
that Peshawar will see, was Brigadier Sir Hissamuddin 
Khan, a famous local landowner and personality almost 
more Anglophile than the British. Mustering all his 
medals, and dressed in archaic regimental uniform, he 
made a brave showing, and recalled past glories. He told 



me that the first Viceroy he had served was Curzon, and 
that his first assignment was as a very junior officer of the 
guard outside the great man's bedroom. It was not an 
easy job, for Curzon was such a light sleeper (hat the 
officers of the guard and the sentries had to put felt over 
their boots to avoid disturbing him. 


Tuesday, 29th April, 1947 
After an early breakfast, we set olf for a tour of the 
Khyber and for the at Jamrud. We passed the 

famous Islamia College, where a few years ago Jan Scott 
had been the Principal. On the way back we were re- 
galetf by cries of "Pakistan Zindabad" from a number of 
the students who were perhaps alive to the important role 
their college could play in the training of much -needed 
officials for the new State they were so fervently hailing. 
We passed the fort where the Guru Hari Singh is buried, 
and were told how on his death his body had been prop- 
ped up in Jamrud for all to see. We then came to the 
great Jamrud Fort hewn out of the rocks — the garrison 
of the Khyber Rifles. 

All the way on our twelve-mile journey the khassidan 
were spaced out guarding both sides of the road from 
nearby hillocks. They were ;i tribal police force, about 
one thousand six hundred strong, who were encouraged 
to keep order among their warlike brothers through shar- 
ing in Government benefits. The Afridis have apparent- 
ly squatted on the Pass ever since the days of classical 
Greece. Their system of rule was described as being one 
of heredity based on character, which, if it is accented, 
is as stable a system as any. Mr. Lowis explained that 
we were moving up into the heart of the Pathan king- 
dom, which had two ethnic boundaries -the Hjndu Kush 
and the Indus. We reached the top of the Pas's at Char- 
bagh, and from there we looked out into Afghanistan. 
Lady Mountbatten told me she first came to the Khyber 
as a girl of nineteen, and was very much of a pioneer in 



doing so. Each detail of the rugged route had remained 
vivid in her memory. 

We then turned back to Landi Kotal, where Mount- 
batten met the tribal Jirga of Maliks (elders) representing 
the Afridi, Shinwari, Zakahe, Malikdin, Sipah, Salmani 
and Kullaghori clans. The scene provided an extraordi- 
nary contrast with the bleak, austere grandeur of the Pass 
itself. Landi Kotal camp, indeed, was just like a leafy 
Sussex village in summer time. The Jirga itself was a 
colourful assembly. Many of the tribesmen squatting in 
the shade of the trees looked very old and benign, and 
it was difficult to imagine that they were some of the 
toughest warriors in the world. 

Their spokesman, one Khan Abdul Lalif Khan, 'who 
spoke in Pushtu translated by Caroe, put forward at some 
length, and with occasional supporting interjections from 
his fellow leaders, the various demands. Several of these 
were of a local character, but on the wider front he plead- 
ed that, in the event of the British Government vacating 
India, the Khyber should be returned to them. More- 
over, he made it clear that while they belonged to no 
particular party, their sympathies were with their Moslem 
brethren. Indeed, he indulged in a considerable anti- 
Nehru and anti-Hindu diatribe. Nehru, who was actual- 
ly stoned when he visited the Frontier last year, had warn- 
ed Mountbatten to expect a hand-picked Jirga, but I must 
say that this one seemed to be genuinely representative. 

Mountbatten's reply dealt with all the specific points 
raised, advising that it was up to them to negotiate their 
agreements with the successor authority. He added a 
characteristic personal point, "As I expect you know," he 
said, "1 am a sailor, and had the honour of fighting in 
a battle in the North Sea in company with H.M.S. Ajridi, 
called after your tribe because of its famous warlike quali- 
ties. Although we have had to fight you Afridis in the 
past on occasions, we respect and like each other. Your 
Jirga has a reputation for wisdom and foresight. For the 
last sixteen years you have behaved and stuck to your 



agreements. In this critical time, when power is to be 
handed over, do not lose that reputation." 

As tokens of good-will Khan Abdul Latif Khan then 
presented the Viceroy with a number of gifts, including 
a haversack, Pathan dagger and chappals, and a rifle of 
splendid craftsmanship made somewhere in the Khyber 
caves. After a short break for coffee, which only helped 
to heighten the home-from-home feeling, we again set 
off in our single file of cars down the hills back to Pesha- 

On our return, a second but smaller Jirga. this time of 
Wazir and Mahsud tribesmen, was awaiting us in the 
grour^ds of Government House. They, too, were very 
outspoken in their attitude to a Hindu raj. Mountbatten 
assured Lhcm, 44 1 have taken note of what you have said 
about Pakistan, and 1 have taken action about the release 
of prisoners from gaols. Arrangements arc being made 
among themselves as to when they will come out. The 
sooner the present tension can be relieved the better for 
all concerned.** There followed short talks with Hindu 
and Sikh minority delegation, who, not unnaturally, spoke 
with much more moderation. 

Immediately after lunch we left by air for Rawalpindi, 
arriving there an hour later. We had hardly touched 
down and set foot in Command House before the Gover- 
nor, Sir Evan Jenkins, whisked us off to Kahuta, scene 
of some recent severe communal rioting. Dusty, and with* 
parched throats after a twenty-five-mile car drive, we ar- 
rived to find that the havoc in the small town was very 
great. Picking our way through the rubble, we could 
see that the devastation was as thorough as any produced 
by fire-bomb raids in the war. This particular commu- 
nal orgy involved the destruction of Sikhs and t^eir liveli- 
hood by Moslems who were proving difficult to track 
down. The Moslems in the area seemed to be quite pleased 
with themselves, and to be unable to appreciate that the 
local Sikh traders were one of the principal sources of their 
own prosperity. Economically the ruin which the two 



communities inflict upon each other is complete and horri- 
fying both in its immediate and long-term implications. 

After a thorough tour — and on such occasions no detail 
escapes their eagle eyes — the Mountbaltens sat at a small 
table and listened to various local leaders and representa- 
tives explaining the situation and putting forward their 
grievances. One Dewan Pinki Das Sabharwal regaled us 
with a highly coloured address some five pages in length 
which was not on the agenda. Jenkins was not unnatu- 
rally annoyed, as the remarks were full of gross accusa- 
tions against himself as Governor and gave various strange 
statistics, including a reference to three thousand one 
hundred and ninety-nine forcible conversions. 

On our return to Rawalpindi I met some Indiafi and 
British Press friends at the local hotel and went into 
some of the difficulties they arc having in filing stories 
from here. 1 got back only just in time for the dinner 
at Command House, where I sat next to Colonel Still, 
an intelligent man who engaged me in an interesting talk 
on Parliamentary democracy and the need for the "cun- 
ning good man" to run it. He gave a definition of bar- 
barism as "an absence of values to which appeal can be 
made". Piopaganda was thus to be seen as a concession 
to, if not an actual by-product of, barbarism. 

via hoy's house, ni/w diliii, Wednesday, 

30th April, 1947 

Our party split up — Mountballen returning direct to 
Delhi, and Lady Mountbatten carrying on with her tour 
of the riot areas. I found myself busily engaged with 
correspondents who were anxious to receive background 
guidance on the result of the visit. It was necessary to 
tread warily. The full force of Congress and Moslem 
League interest was temporarily focused on the Province, 
and the air was full of speculation. 

My first job was to deal firmly with Altaf Hussain, the 
Lditor of Dawn, who published a shockingly inaccurate 
story from his Peshawar correspondent under the follow- 



ing banner headlines: 4 *Mountbatten Confers with Fron- 
tier Leaders— Manki and Quayyum Refuse to be Releas- 
ed on Parole — Huge Demonstration by Palhan Men and 
Women - Viceroy Flying to Jamrud." In so far as 
Mountbatten had spent over two hours with Manki and 
Quayyum, who had both been the chief spokesmen of the 
Moslem delegation, his first reaction was to make a per- 
sonal protest to Jinnah, but I dissuaded him from doing 
this on Hussain's assurance that the story would be cor- 
rected to-morrow. This particular correspondent's ima- 
ginative powers reach their peak with the reference to the 
Viceroy's flight to Jamrud, where there is no airfield! 

CJqarly there were few tangible results to report, but 
in brimzine the local Moslem leaders into touch with 
Jinnah, and thereby the wider context of events, Mount- 
batten certainly helped to take the edge off the immediate 
crisis. The only chance of calling off the civil disobedi- 
ence campaign rests with Jinnah himself. The Frontier 
leaders are wild men who, if left to their own devices, have 
neither the will nor resource to achieve a reasonable settle- 
ment. The whole visit has brought home to us the need 
for achieving the wider agreement on India's future as 
quickly as possible. Jf we do not, there will be a com- 
plete disintegration of what remains of law and order 
both in the Frontier and the Punjab, not to speak of the 
other northern Provinces. It is certainly a great dispen- 
sation that south and central India should be remaining 
so calm. 

Doon Campbell, of Reuters, telephoned at midnight to 
tell me of two very strongly worded statements just put 
out by Jinnah and Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Jinnah, he said, 
was in effect launching his irredentist campaign against a 
"truncated, or mutilated, moth-eaten Pakistan" and de- 
manding a "national home" of more ambitious dimensions, 
in fact of all Provinces included in Groups B and C of 
the Cabinet Mission Plan, regardless of their communal 
majorities (i.e., Sind, the Punjab, North-west Frontier 
Province, Baluchistan, Bengal and Assam). Prasad's 



statement, it seems, draws attention to the historic Mos- 
lem League resolution at Lahore in 1940 which launched 
the concept of Pakistan, but which spoke of it as com- 
prising areas where Moslems were numerically in the 
majority. In the third session of the Constituent Assem- 
bly which opened earlier this week, Prasad, speaking as 
its new President, had already prepared the minds of 
members for the partition of India, but, as a part of the 
process, for the division of some of the Provinces as well. 

Prasad is one of the most influential of the Congress 
high command, and has been holding the key Ministry of 
Food and Agriculture in the Interim Government. When 
I had tea with him at his home the other day I was im- 
pressed by his serenity and undoubted depth of mintl and 
strength of chaiacter. He is essentially a moderate and 
a conciliator, a man of the people whose good reputation 
has little to do with the demagogic arts, but is the out- 
come of long and loyal service to the Nationalist cause. 
He will undoubtedly have a key role to play in the new 
regime, whether in a united or divided India.* 

viceroy's housf, nlw delhi, Thursday, 1st May, 1947 
\ was present at the lunch-party to-day, and sat next 
to Mr. Bardoloi, Prime Minister of Assam, quiet-spoken 
and unassuming, as are so many of the front-rank Con- 

At to-day's Staff Meeting we had a further discussion 
on the problem of the retention of India within the Com- 
monwealth. We have received a reminder from London 
that in any consideration of the granting of Dominion 
Status the Indian States are not at present British territory 
at all, and could hardly be incorporated as part of the 
British Commonwealth. 

As far as British India was concerned, Mountbatlen 
came down heavily against the concept of allowing only 

* He wav, in fact, to become the first President of the Indian 
Republic following the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 
January 1949. 



a part to remain in, with the consequent risk of Britain 
being ' involved in the support of one Indian sovereign 
State against another. He personally favoured the for- 
mula that only British India as a whole should be permit- 
ted to remain in the Commonwealth. In the meanwhile 
a completely non-committal attitude on the question 
should be maintained. Ismay's personal view, however, 
was that it would be virtually impossible, both on moral 
and material grounds, to eject from the Commonwealth 
any part of India that asks to remain in. If Pakistan 
were involved, relations with the entire Moslem bloc ex- 
tending from the Middle East had to be considered. Bri- 
tish baCking, if not of the whole, then of a part of India, 
might be the one way to avoid a civil war. Ian Scott 
subscribed to Ismay's argument. 

George Abell, while agreeing that the British would 
have a continuing moral responsibility, felt that the worst 
way of fulfilling this might be the unilateral support of 
Pakistan. I said that I agreed with George, and felt that 
support by Great Britain of one part of India only would 
result in the sub-continent becoming the centre of inter- 
national tension and intrigue. Mieville raised the import- 
ant question whether under the Statute of Westminster all 
members of the British Commonwealth would have to be- 
consulted about the inclusion or ejection of the whole 
or parts of India. He added that V. P. Menon, Reforms. 
Commissioner and, as such, an ex officio member of his 
Staff, had advised him that Patel might be ready to accept 
an offer of Dominion Status for the time being. 

We are turning our attention to the Bengal situation* 
and Sir Frederick Burrows, who was unable to be present 
for the Governors' Conference owing to illness, arrived 
yesterday for a twenty-four-hour visit. Mountbatten has 
enjoyed meeting him again, and found him congenial com- 
pany. Burrows made his reputation as a member of the 
Soulbury Commission, which duly recommended Domi- 
nion Status for Ceylon and was taking its evidence in 
Colombo a few months after Mountbatten had establish- 



cd his S.E.A.C. Headquarters in Kandy.* He certainly 
provides an interesting contrast to most of his predeces- 
sors, at Government House, Calcutta. For he is very 
proud of his years of service as a railwayman, and on one 
occasion is said to have startled Calcutta society by declar- 
ing that the main difference between himself and previous 
Governors of Bengal was that while they were accustom- 
ed to "huntin' and shootin' *\ he was accustomed to 
".shunlin' and hoolin' ' M He delighted in exchanging 
military memories with Mount batten, strictly as between 
sergeant-major and Admiral. 

vk hroy's nonsi. niw dvuu, Iriday, 2nd May, 1947 
I have put out the announcement that the Mountbattcns 
will be leaving for a short visit to Simla. Mountbattcn is 
anxious to make it clear that no interruption of business 
is involved, and the statement explains that he has now 
come to the end of preliminary meetings with representa- 
tive Indian leaders, and will be leaving after the weekly 
Cabinet meeting on the 6th, returning in time to preside 
over the next one. 

1 have also released an account of Lady Mounlbatieif s 
adventurous three-day tour, during which she covered 
nearly one thousand live hundred miles by plane, besides 
considerable distances by car and on foot. She left 
Lahore at seven this morning in the Viceroy's Dakota, 
arriving over Mooitan, the last place on her long itinerary, 
just before 8.30. She was unable to land, as there was 
n dust-storm over an area of about twenty miles radius, 
and visibility was very poor. The plane circled left and 
light at varying heights down to about three hundred feet, 
but failed to sight the airfield. Muriel Watson had the 
utmost difficulty in inducing her to call off the search, 
and she only agreed to do so after she had sent a message 

* In fact, it was on the advice of Lord Mountbattcn. after he 
had called a meeting with Their Excellencies, the Governor and 
Commander-in-Chief, Cevlon, in May 1944, that a Commission 
was sent out. 



to the Mooltan Commissioner expressing her regrets and 
her resolve to return at the earliest possible date. 

I set off to-night by the Delhi Mail for a quiet long 
week-end with my family at Mashobra, prior to the ar- 
rival of the main Viceregal party in Simla on Tuesday. 




Monday, 5th May, 1947 
For*thl past forty-eight hours 1 have been able to relax 
and from our mountain aerie drink in the splendour and 
solitude of the Himalayan landscape. Tor days on end 
mists and cloud act like a vast backclolh, allowing one 
a vista of no more than the valley below and the neighbour- 
ing peak of Shali, a mere twelve thousand feel high, and 
snowless in the spring. Then suddenly the curtain rises, 
and stretching before one in an uninterrupted arc of over 
ninety degrees is the eternal snowline, range after range, 
sixteen thousand feet and more. No doubt there arc 
many other vistas of the main Himalayan range as im- 
pressive as this, for the "roof of the world" covers over 
two hundred and fifty thousand square miles and includes 
at least forty peaks of over twenly-four thousand feel. 
But the splendid and awesome vision from Simla serves 
as a symbol of this immensity. 

During my brief respite here in Mashobra the pace of 
political events in Delhi quickened. Ismay and George 
Abell left for London on the 2nd May. taking with them 
the draft Plan for ihe British Government's consideration. 

On Saturday there was the first major Indian Press at- 
tack upon Mountbatten, significantly enough from the 
Hindustan Times, lo which some weight has always lo be 
given, in so far as it is edited by the Mahatma's son, 
Devadas Gandhi, and owned by his wealthiest supporter. 



G. D. Birla. At any given time it is the mouthpiece of 
Nehru or Palel or of the Mahatma himself. 

The article began by saying, "For the first time since 
Lord Mountbatten assumed the Viceroyalty the feeling 
that he may not be playing fair has come among Con- 
gressmen and Sikh leaders/' There then followed reve- 
lations of the Viceroy's main conclusions which were suffi- 
ciently accurate as to indicate inside knowledge, and some 
no less well informed but somewhat threatening Congress 
reactions. These included a demand for special terms 
for the Sikhs in the Punjab. There was also an ominous 
unwillingness to concede a fresh election on the Frontier. 
"The Congress Working Committee", according to the 
writer, "has made the Frontier question a test case* It 
has made clear to the Viceroy that any proposal to dismiss 
the Frontier Ministry and hold fresh elections will make 
the Congress change its entire attitude towards the British 

I understand that yesterday Mountbatten had two im- 
portant interviews with Gandhi and Jinnah, the net effect 
of which made Mountbatten wonder whether Ismay's de- 
parture had not been premature. By a freak of chance 
the interviews overlapped, and Mountbatten had the poli- 
tical insight and social finesse to bring the two leaders to- 
gether for their first meeting in three years. But once 
the formalities of greeting were over the encounter baffled 
Mountbatten's calculations. For Gandhi and Jinnah, with 
their chairs far apart, were quite unable to raise their 
voices sufficiently, so that they seemed to be like two old 
conspirators engaged in long-distance dumbshow. Al- 
though Mountbatten strained his ears, much of their con- 
versation escaped hfm. However, his primary purpose 
was amply achieved, for they agreed to have a full dis- 
cussion with each other at Jinnah's house. 

Before leaving for Simla. Mountbatten has been gather- 
ing in the views of the Governors of ihe Punjab, Bengal 
and North-west Frontier Province on the desirability or 
.otherwise of referenda for their Provinces. Briefly Caroe 



is in favour for the North-west Frontier Province, Bur- 
rows non-committal for Bengal, although on balance ' 
against, and Jenkins took an extremely gloomy view of the 
situation, casting doubt upon its acceptability either to 
Jinnah or the Sikhs. Mountbatten, however, held firmly 
to the view that in the last analysis Jinnah would acqui- 
esce, and that the only way the Sikhs could improve their 
position was through negotiation. 


Tuesday, 6th May, 1947 
Jinnah and Gandhi met for three hours at Jinnah's home 
in Aurangzeb Road. An agreed statement was issued, 
whioh read as follows: — 

"We discussed Iwo matters; One was the question of 
division of India into Pakistan and Hindustan, and Mr. 
Gandhi does not accept the principle of division. He thinks 
that division is not inevitable, whereas in my opinion not 
only is Pakistan inevitable, but is the only practical solu- 
tion of India's political problem. 

"The second matter which we discussed was the letter 
which we both have signed jointly appealing to the people 
to maintain peace; we have both come to the conclusion 
that we must do our best in our respective spheres to see 
that that appeal of ours is carried out and we will make 
every effort for this purpose." 

Although the meeting in itself was clearly abortive, the 
balance of tactical advantage — as the smoothly worded 
text suggests— undoubtedly lies with Jinnah: one more 
nail has been driven into the coffin of the Cabinet Mission 
Plan. The unresolved question is just how far Gandhi 
can or will resist the tidal flow of events towards partition. 


Wednesday, 7th May, 1947 
My brief respite came to an end to-day, when I was 
summoned to Viceregal Lodge. Mountbatten has brought 



up with him V. P. Menon, who was closely involved in 
all the 1945 Simla and the 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan 
negotiations. Although he has suffered a period of eclipse, 
he is still the trusted confidant of Vallabhbhai Patel. 

On arrival \ was plunged info two successive Staff Meet- 
ings, the first without Mountbatten and the second with 
him. At both wc considered fully the desirability of an 
alternative plan based on the assumption, which V. P. 
held was more than possible, that Jinnah would not accept 
the Plan in the draft announcement. Mountbatten said 
he had always borne in mind the possibility of rejection 
by Jinnah, and in all the interviews he had had both with 
him and Liaquat he had watched carefully for any c sign 
pointing to such an intention, but none had been given. 
Fvery test he had applied led him to the belief that they 
intended to accept, and he could see only two possible 
suppositions for Jinnah not doing so- -the first, if his real 
aim was to keep the British in India, and by prolonging 
the bargaining to make it more difficult for the British to 
leave, in the hope of obtaining thereby a more favourable 
award; the second, if he had reached the conclusion that 
Pakistan was not practicable. 

But he seriously doubted whether either of these con- 
siderations was in Jinnah's mind. None-lhe-lcss he agreed 
with V. IVs thesis on the advisability of having available 
a clear alternative in his dealings with Jinnah. The second- 
line plan would involve demission of power under the 
present constitution. It would not in the last resort require 
the agreement of the Indian leaders. Provincial subjects 
would be demitted#to existing Provincial Governments, 
and Central subjects to the existing Central Government; 
but it would put the Moslems under the Hindu majority. 

A telegram has been drafted for dispatch to London, 
giving them ihe background and asking for approval to 
'hold such a plan in reserve. Wc also went further into 
the possibilities of retaining India in the Commonwealth, 
and V. P. confirmed both Patel's and Nehru's positive 



approach to the subject and the need for dropping 'the 
terms "King-Emperor" and "Empire", to which so many 
Indians objected. V. P. was finally asked to prepare a 
paper setting out clearly the procedure whereby a form 
of Dominion Status could be granted to India under the 
alternative Plans of Partition and Demission. 

"nit. rijrkat", mashohka, simla, 
Thursday. Hlh May, 1947 

Al to-day's meeting a problem of some moment affect- 
ing our relations with the Indian and world Press was on 
our agenda. Ever since our arrival, the Foreign corres- 
pondents have been seeking an ofl-thc-record interview 
either with Mountbatten or with Ismay on his behalf. The 
political negotiations have been so intensive that it has 
been necessary to protect Mountbatten from any com- 
mitments other than those directly concerned with the 
formulation of the Plan itself, and now Jsmay is away for 
at least another fortnight. On lop of this, the Hindustan 
Times article last week only confirms that I he leading 
Delhi editors and their correspondents know far more than 
would be available to them through normal channels. The 
clamour for some sort of access to the Viceroy, for back- 
ground guidance, is more insistent than ever. 

My feeling is that while an interview with Mountbatten 
himself remains out of the question at this time and would 
involve discrimination against the Indian Press, it would 
be wise and equitable if Mievillc were to stand in for 
Ismay. 1 am convinced that the effect of such contact will 
be to damp down speculation, particularly in I he editorial 
offices of London and New York, during the critical ten- 
day hiatus between now and Mountbatten's proposed pre- 
sentation of the Plan to the Leaders. Whether it is "yea" 
or "nay" to the Foreign correspondents' request, it will 
in either case involve a calculated risk. No decision was 
taken to-day. Most of the staff would, I think, like 
Mountbatten to say "no" out of hand, but while he is 



rightly adamant that he personally should not take any 
part, he shares my view that Mieville should fill the breach. 

"the retreat", mashorra, simla, Friday, 9th May, 1947 
The Dominion Status question "was discussed at great 
length this morning. Mountbatten began by saying he 
thought it most desirable that if Dominion Status was to 
be granted to India before June 1948 the grant should in 
fact take place during 1947. He went so far as to say 
that he would like to see Dominion Status by 31st Decem- 
ber, 1947 — giving as his reason the startlingly apt pre- 
cedent of a plenary session of the Quebec Conference 
during the war. The meeting had been asked to approve 
a directive that war with Japan must be ended by F948. 
To this President Roosevelt had said he would never agree. 
Hopkins intervened, "Well, make it 31st December, 
1947."— President Roosevelt, "Agreed." 

Nehru and Krishna Menon have arrived, and much will 
depend on Mountbatten's powers of persuasion with them 
if the Dominion Status concept is to come to light. Already 
Krishna indicates resistance to any splitting of the Army 
if early Dominion Status is accepted. Mieville was inclin- 
ed to think that there would be more advantage to India 
than to the Commonwealth from India remaining in, but 
Mountbatten considered that the value to the United King- 
dom both in terms of world prestige and strategy would 
be enormous; for India as a whole the immense asset of 
constitutional continuity. He appreciated the many ad- 
ministrative difficulties, particularly those facing Pakistan, 
but these were inherent in the situation anyhow. "What 
are we doing?" he" asked. "Administratively it is the 
difference between putting up a permanent building, a 
nissen hut or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned we 
are putting up a tent. We can do no more." 

He told us that in the rush of business yesterday he had 
missed his thirty-fourth anniversary of joining the Navy 
as a twelve-years-old cadet. 



This afternoon there was a brief respite from the inten- 
sive discussions. The Mountbattens brought Nehru out 
to tea at "The Retreat". But for the mountains surround- 
ing us, it might have been a typical English garden tea- 
party. To begin with there was a certain tension which 
stifled small talk. Fay, sitting next to Nehru, managed 
to elicit from him his views on the sugar shortage (they 
had actually brought their own sugar with them) and his 
antipathy to Simla. This characteristically was derived 
from his aversion to the spectacle of the rickshaw coolies, 
whose labours he thought were an affront to human 

Mountbatten asked Nehru if his responsibilities as 
Minister for External Affairs covered communications with 
Burma, and if so. what had become of the great road and 
airfield projects which had been built during his S.E.A.C. 
days at immense cost. There had been clamour for years 
for a land link with Burma — were these being kept up? 
Nehru showed some interest, but felt that the cost of 
maintenance would be very heavy. 

After tea Nehru said he would like to see our children. 
Mountbatten introduced our son Keith as his godchild, 
exclaiming, "He stands up so straight he will fall over 
backwards!" We then went on a grand tour of the house 
and Viceregal orchards. 

The Mountbattens fell in love with the place, and are 
quite determined to come back again. During our walk 
up and down the orchard terraces Nehru was very agile, 
and confessed to a liking for hill-climbing. He gave us a 
demonstration of a new technique by walking uphill back- 
wards. This, he said, made breathing easier at high alti- 
tudes, and rested the calf-muscles. 


Saturday, 10th May, 1947 
At our Staff Meeting to-day Mountbatten reported on 
a breakfast conversation he had had with Krishna, while 
V. P. spoke of contact he had made with Patel. The 



impression grows that the Dominion Status formula in- 
creasingly appeals to both the Congress leaders. Krishna 
Menon takes credit as the first to have suggested an early 
transfer of power to India on this basis, fie thinks Nehru 
is attracted to the concept, if only because it may give 
Mountbatten opportunity to bring his influence to bear on 
the more recalcitrant Princes. V. P. suspects that likely 
delay in completing the Indian constitution may also en- 
courage Nehru to look towards Dominion Status as an 
interim device to fill up the time. The main difficulty on 
the Congress side seems to be the fear of the left wing 
exploiting Dominion Status as a "sell out" to Britain. 

To-day 1 put out the momentous communique announc- 
ing that the Viceroy had invited the five Leaders to meet 
him at 10.30 a.m., and the Indian Slates' Representatives 
in the afternoon, next Saturday 1 7th May. the purpose 
being "to present to them the Plan which His Majesty's 
Government has now made for the transfer of power to 
Indian hands". 

At six o'clock this evening, after a preliminary run 
through with Mountbatten, Mieville met the Foreign cor- 
respondents for the long-delayed background talk, in his 
own house. He brought out the important points very 
well -the need for a quick political solution, but a demo- 
cratic one also; how, in a matter of such magnitude, the 
onus of choice must fall upon the people themselves or 
their elected representatives; how the Leaders were being 
brought step by step towards agreement. This was diplo- 
macy by discussion, and not by diktat. 

I gather from Lric Britter, who is staying with us, that 
the talk has had a very steadying effect, and in particular 
provided enlighteamenl for the American Press. 


Sunday, 11th May. 1947 
Mountbatten has had a shattering day. He rang me up 
at Mashobra just before we were due to entertain a party 
of Press correspondents, most of whom had been at yester- 



day's talk with Mieville, to tell me just this — that it would 
be necessary to postpone the meeting with the Leaders 
announced last night in our communique as due to take 
place on 17th May. Would, I prepare second communi- 
que? This is certainly the stifFest request in political Pub- 
lic Relations I have ever received, and having done my 
best to conceal my anxiety and mental turmoil from our 
tea-party. J arrived at Viceregal Lodge at 6.30 in the even- 
ing to find despondency, not to say alarm. 

It seems that last night Mountbatten gave Nehru the 
chance of reading the draft Plan as revised and approved 
by London, and that Nehru, having read it, has vehe- 
mently turned it down. He is convinced that it involves 
a ma]or departure in principle from the original draft 
prepared by Mountbatten and his staff which Ismay and 
George Abel! took back with them to London at the 
beginning of the month. 

Nehru was satisfied that both in the Cabinet Mission 
Plan, which he was at pains to stress is still not dead, and 
in the Mountbatten draft, his concept of India as a con- 
tinuing entity had been preserved. In the London draft, 
however, the breakdown seems to him to amount to little 
loss than connivance at Balkanisation. He really wants 
it to be fully established that India and the Constituent 
Assembly are the successors to, and Pakistan and the Mos- 
lem League the seceders from, British India. Many of 
the detailed objections he raises are trivial, and could in 
themselves be easily disposed of. He will have nothing 
to do, for instance, with the proposed procedure for 
Baluchistan. This is, no doubt, an over-estimate, but the 
changes have aroused in him all the old suspicions of 
London as the home of an alien Civil Service whose hearts 
are hard, and understanding strictly limited when it comes 
to handling India to-day. ♦ 

The one immediate result of his attitude is to make it 
necessary for Mountbatten and his staff, depleted by the 
absence of Ismay and Abell, to push ahead at once with 
a second revised draft at the highest speed for transmission 



to Ismay, who by the time Mountbatten's telegrams warn- 
ing him of this volte-face reach him will be a somewhat 
confused and frustrated Viceregal envoy. 

Having scratched my head over the second communi- 
que. I went up with Mieville to see Mountbatten in his 
study to discuss the publicity difficulties and dangers be- 
fore us. His hair was somewhat dishevelled, but he was 
still marvellously resilient. He told us that only a hunch 
on his part had saved him from disaster. Without that 
hunch, ''Dickie Mountbatten", he said, "would have been 
finished and could have packed his bag. We would have 
looked complete fools with the Government at home, hav- 
ing led them up the garden to believe that Nehru would 
accept the Plan." He said that most of his staff, with 
natural caution, had been against his running over the 
Plan with Nehru, but by following his hunch rather than 
their advice he had probably saved the day. 

I stressed that it was out of the question for us to -put 
out any postponement announcement without ensuring 
full clearance and consistency with London. After some 
urgent exchanges it was agreed that the announcement 
should read as follows: "Owing to the imminence of the 
Parliamentary recess in London, it has been found neces- 
sary to postpone H.E. the Viceroy's meeting with the 
Indian Leaders announced to begin on Saturday 17th May, 
until Monday 2nd June." 

The wording of this communique, coming so closely 
upon our Press party and within twenty-four hours of 
our firm announcement to the world of the earlier date, 
has caused me more anxiety than any Press statement I 
have issued in the^ast or am likely to issue in the future. 
1 have visions of the whole structure of confidence and 
good-will we have so carefully built up falling to the 
ground and an unrivalled feast being provided for the 
hungry Press speculators. 

The weakness of our position is that at a moment of 
crisis we have told the truth, but it is not the whole truth 
and nothing but the truth. No one in Delhi is likely to be- 



Heve that London was the source of the postponement, 
and if they do, that in itself will only help to evoke old 
suspicions. Everyone knows that Nehru has been staying 
with the Viceroy, and from the strictly Public Relations, 
point oi view I believe it would have been preferable to 
base the postponement on the grounds of drafting detail. 
However, there was certainly no time to argue out the 
publicity refinements of the dilemma we are in. The 
essence of the matter is that we have put out with the 
utmost speed a firm decision no less firmly postponed, and 
have secured London's approval for it. Textual adorn- 
ments involving delay are unacceptable. 


Monday, 12th May, 1947 
Mount batten, who has now had a chance to sleep on 
yesterday's developments, said that although he seems to 
have been able to establish his own integrity with the 
Indian Leaders, undoubtedly a phobia persists against any 
document or proposal issuing from London. Clearly any 
re-drafts will have to be made by his own staff in India. 
He has decided that one revision mu*t be to take away 
<Miy option for independence either lor Bengal or for any 
other Province. He felt that it would always be possible 
to reconsider this decision if thcic was at any time a re- 
quest from both parties for Provincial independence. Nehru 
has his own plan similar to ours proposing an early de- 
mission of power to the Interim Government on a Do- 
minion Status basis. 

After the meeting Fay and I were guests at a small 
"family" lunch-party which took place under a cedar 
tree in the garden Krishna Menon, who has stayed on 
to patch up some of the rents in the Plan caused by 
Nehru's visit, was there. Most oi our discussjon was 
taken up with the Indian Boy Scout movement, in which 
Krishna is interested. Here again politics and intrigue 
seem to dominate the scene. After lunch Mountbatten 
held forth on the strategic problems facing India, whether 



united or partitioned. It is interesting to note what a re- 
velation such discussions arc to the Congress leaders, 
whose whole lives have hitherto centred round purely poli- 
tical considerations. 



vk'i.roy's not si:, niw diliii, Thursday, 1 5th May, 1947 
MoiiNiRAiUN has HAD a courteous but firm summons 
to return to London for consultation. At first he reacted 
strongly against the proposal, saying that there was noth- 
ing for him to go home for, but the alternative proposal 
from the Prime Minister that a member or members of 
the Cabinet should come out was even more unacceptable 
to him. 

vk i roy's jiousl, niav Di Liu, Thursday, 22nd May, 1947 
Nehru and Palel have asked Mountbatten to add Kripa- 
lani, Congress President, to the invitation list for the 
Leaders' meeting. They feel that his presence would help 
them in carrying Congress as against purely ministerial 
opinion. Moreover, they point out that Kripalani's status 
as President is the same as Jinnah's vis-a-vis the Moslem 
League. Mountbatten has decided to write and say that 
while he recognises Kripalani's importance, he cannot 
agree to having him at the meeting itself, but would be 
ready to see him privately either just before or just after \ 
it. This is a typical teasing problem, which is deceptively 
trivial at first sight, but which can so easily develop into 
a major crisis. If Kripalani is not asked, Congress nurse 
the sense of grievance that they have had to make yet one 
more capitulation to Jinnah. If he is asked, Jinnah is 
duly olfended. 



V. P. has drafted very brief but cogent Heads of Agree- 
ment. There are eight in all. It is a bold effort to get 
round the difficulty of the Leaders refusing to take the 
full burden of unpopular decisions and hiding behind their 
inability to decide on behalf of their respective Party 
machines. The Heads of Agreement press lor early Do- 
minion Status as an interim arrangement based upon the 
Government of India Act of W5 with modifications, and 
envisaging one or two sovereign States. If one only, 
power should be transferred to the existing central Go- 
vernment. The sixth Head asserts ihat the Governor- 
General should be common to both the Slates. Finally 
it attempts to cover the problem of dividing the Armed 
Torces. It proposes that units should be allocated accord- 
ing to the territorial basis of recruitment and placed under 
the control of the respective Governments. It makes a 
special provision for the distribution of mixed units. 

Mount batten has failed in his eflorls to gel Jinnah and 
Liaquat to sign the document or even a letter agreeing 
to it. According to him they appeared absolutely to ac- 
cept its general principles, but were not willing to state 
their agreement in writing. V. P. said that Patel\s and 
Nehru's main concern was that Jinnah should accept the 
Plan in such a way as to make it clear that it really was 
his last territorial demand, and not just an interim arrange- 
ment. He felt it would satisfy C ongress if Jinnah made it 
clear that he himself accepted the announcement and 
would use his good offices to put it into effect. 

Mountbalten said that he had cautiously tested Jinnah's 
reaction to the threat, failing agreement, of demitting 
power to the Interim Government on a Dominion Status 
basis. Jinnah had apparently been very calm, and had 
said simply that he could not slop such a step in any 
event. In some respects this may well turn out to be the 
most delicate and decisive moment for Moumbattctrs and 
Jinnah\s diplomacy. Mountbalten felt that Jinnah's reac- 
tion was both abnormal and disturbing. It was certainly 
shrewd. The ballon d'essai has gone up and come down 


again, providing only the evidence that Jinnah has a very 
steady nerve. Mountbatten feels that Jinnah is well aware 
of his potency as a martyr butchered by the British on the 
Congress altar. 

viceroy's iiousl, new Delhi, Sunday. 18th May, 1947 
The Mountbaltens left Palam this morning at 8.30 for 
London. A large party was at the airfield to see them off, 
including Colvillc, who, as senior Governor, is temporary 
acting Viceroy for the fourth time. Mountbatten is taking 
V. P. and Vernon back with him. 

viceroy's house, new delhi, Thursday, 22nd May, 1947 
Jinnah has dropped a carefully timed and placed bomb- 
shell. He demands an eight-hundred -mile "Corridor" to 
link West and Hast Pakistan. The technique of releasing 
it seems to have been copied from Stalin. Doon Camp- 
bell, of Reuters, to whom the story was given, told me 
that it was in answer to a questionnaire which he had 
lodged with Jinnah some days previously. No one was 
more surprised than he to find himself with such a scoop 
on his hands. In a telegram to Erskine Crum in London 
1 reported, "Jinnah's answers were not verbal, but written 
out". As soon as Reuters released the story, Jinnah's 
secretary specially rang up Foreign correspondents draw- 
ing their attention to it. Correspondents informed me 
privately that Jinnah offered this interview to several of 
them. They considered he was determined to make the 
statement anyhow, and merely used Reuters' request as 
a peg to hang it on. Reuters was, of course, a well-chosen 
instrument for Jinnah to exert the maximum pressure on 
London at this critical stage in the Viceroy's deliberations 
with the Government, for through the exclusive use of this 
source he was ensuring for himself the greatest possible 
coverage in the British Press. 

In spite of a lot of inspired speculation to the contrary 
by the London correspondents of the Indian papers, 
Mountbatten' s negotiations are proceeding smoothly. His 



presence in London has already done much to restore the 
confidence of the Cabinet and officials and given coherence 
to their proceedings. He has already had valuable meet- 
ings with the Opposition leaders, without whose support 
the timing of the whole operation, based as it is upon the 
quick passage of the Independence Bill through Parlia- 
ment, would be frustrated. In the present delicate situa- 
tion Mountbatten's personal authority and guidance were 
needed to secure their vital co-operation and to set their 
legitimate doubts at rest. 

Mr. Attlee, who throughout has assumed full personal 
control of the Government's India policy and any action 
arising from it, has successfully injected a sense of the 
utmtfst urgency into his colleagues. The strain falls parti- 
cularly on the Lord Chancellor's and India Offices. To 
meet Mountbatten's vital timing problem, the Lord Chan- 
cellor promised to have the necessary Bill ready for pre- 
sentation to the House by the first week in July, which 
will involve surely the fastest drafting of a major Parlia- 
mentary Bill in our history. Indeed, its scope is without 
parallel or precedent in the proceedings of any Parlia- 
mentary Government. There was, of course, considerable 
concern on the defence aspect of Partition, but otherwise 
Ismay was able to send us optimistic and encouraging 
news. Dominion Status as elaborated by Mountbatten 
and V. P. Mcnon had been warmly welcomed, and only 
a few editorial amendments and clarifications were 

viceroy's house;, new delhi, Monday, 26th May, 1947 
Jinnah's "Corridor" demand has produced delayed, but 
none the less definite, reaction. The flames of controversy 
are being fanned, and this whole affair is characteristic of 
the mounting tension, which will be relaxed only with a 
quick political decision. The reserves of good-will which 
Mountbatten has so assiduously built up over the past two 
months are rapidly running out during his absence in Lon- 
don. 1 have advised Vernon: — 



"Prasad and Deo (Congress Secretary) have made force- 
ful statements— Prasad says, Minnah's demands will not 
merit a moment's scrutiny*, and Deo considers that they 
'are increasing under the illusion that the British can still 
help him'. The country, however, cannot be intimidated 
with such bullying tactics, and the demand for a 'Corridor* 
cannot be erantcd. 

"Dawn has, of course, hit back at Prasad and Deo with 
a provocative leader under the heading 'Cranks AIT, the 
key passage of which runs as follows: The demand for 
a corridor is not a new one. Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah has 
many limes in the past raised that point which is so vital 
in the context of Pakistan. If Pakistan is to be real, solid 
and strong the creation of a corridor linking up its eastern 
and northern areas is an indispensable adjunct. Be that 
as it may, we have no doubt, however, that if Muslims 
can win Pakistan — as indeed they have already won it - 
they can just as well build a corridor somewhere for the 
linking up of the two segments of Pakistan. Mr. Deo 
knows that too well'. 

"On Saturday Nehru gave an interview to the United 
Press of America which contains his first public reference 
to the extra-territorial issue. 'Mr. Jinnah's recent state- 
ment', he said, 'is completely unrealistic and indicates 
that he desires no settlement of any kind. The demand 
for a corridor is fantastic and absurd. We stand for a 
union of India with the right to particular areas to opt out. 
We envisage no compulsion. If there is no proper settle- 
ment on this basis without further claims being advanced, 
then we shall proceed with making and implementing the 
constitution for themnion of India'." 

Nehru confirmed that his attitude was hardening by in- 
timating to Mieville that he was falling back on the alter- 
native Demission Plan, in view of Jinnah's rejection of 
the main proposals of the draft announcement. He would 
like the Interim Government to be treated immediately 
by convention as a Dominion Government. Jinnah will 



never commit himself. Nehru alleged that he accepts 
what he gets and goes on asking for more. There could 
be no one-sided commitments. 

vktkoy's irousi:, ni-w diliu, Sunday, 1st June, 1947 
J wrote to my mother: — 

"We are on the eve of great events here, and I am up 
to my eyes in the last-minute details of planning the pub- 
licity for Mountbalten's momentous announcement on the 
transfer of power which is due to be made on Tuesday. 
The atmosphere is very tense, and if the verdict is for 
Partition — as it almost certainly will be — considerable 
communal unrest can be expected, but any decision will 
be preferable to the present uncertainty. It should be 
noted, though, that the fury is internal and fratricidal and 
that the British are probably more popular with both 
Hindus and Moslems than at any time in living memory. 

"The main effect of the Government's 20th February 
Announcement has been to bring the Congress High Com- 
mand round to the acceptance of the partition of Jndia 
as inevitable. Gandhi refuses to align himself with this 
concept, and is putting up a fierce rear-guard action against 
it. • How far he will carry this opposition is one of the 
big imponderables. 

"Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel, the two big Congress- 
men in the Interim Government, accept Partition on the 
understanding that by conceding Pakistan to Jinnah they 
will hear no more of him and eliminate his nuisance value, 
or, as Nehru put it privately, that by 'culling off the head 
we will get rid of the headache'. In this they are being 
rather sanguine, for Jinnah's appetite shows signs of grow- 
ing with what it feeds on, and his latest demand for an 
eight-hundred-mile corridor to join West and Epst Paki- 
stan is a good example of his irredentist tactics. Agree- 
ment there! ore is being approached from both sides with 
the worst possible grace. Partition is undoubtedly a trage- 
dy, but a worse tragedy would be to try to impose a unity 


unacceptable to the great majority of the hundred million 



vu troy's nousr, ni,w di un, Monday, 2nd June, 1947 
Tur great mom i. nt has arrived. The Leaders drive into 
the North Court in their large American cars. T was in 
the Viceroy's study, which is now duly transformed, its 
dark panels painted a pale green. Tt is quite a small Study, 
with an informal almost intimate atmosphere, compared 
with the Council Chamber and even the adjoining recep- 
tion-rooms. The painting of Clive in the entrance hall 
looks down upon this apotheosis of the Raj. Jinnah was 
the last to come, a few minutes late. Mountbatten did 
his best to promote some friendly small talk, but it was 
clear that the atmosphere was electric. The problem of 
including Kripalani has been solved by conceding to 
Jinnah, Rab Nishtar; so the Big Five have become the 
Big Seven. 

The conference lasted for just on two hours. Vernon 
reported that Mountbatten did most of the talking, and 
was in masterly form, giving a closely reasoned analysis 
of developments. His opening remarks were a challenge 
to them to rise to the level of the events they were creat- 
ing. He said that during the past five years he had taken 
part in a number #f momentous meetings at which. the 
fate of the war had been decided, but he could frankly 
remember no decisions reached likely to have such an im- 
portant influence on world history as those which were 
to be taken at this meeting. He made it clear that he was 
not forcing the pace against their will. A terrific sense of 
urgency had been pressed upon him by everybody to whom 
he had spoken. They had wanted the present state of 



uncertainty to cease: therefore the sooner power was trans- 
ferred the better for all. 

Having made his last formal attempt to resuscitate the 
Cabinet Mission Plan, and Jinnah having for the last time 
formally rejected it, Mountbatten then turned to the dilem- 
ma presented by Partition. Congress, he said, did not 
agree to the principle of the partition of India, but, if 
this were unavoidable, insisted on the partition of Pro- 
vinces to avoid the coercion of Moslem or Hindu majority 
areas, while on the other hand Jinnah resisted the parti- 
tion of Provinces but demanded the division of India. 

Mountbatten was at pains tn stress the backing of the 
British Conservative Opposition. The Plan, he said, was 
not a" Parly issue in London. He spoke of his distress 
about the position of the Sikhs, and disposed firmly and 
finally of the suggestion of a referendum whether Calcutta 
should become a Free Port. 

With characteristic finesse, he introduced the new Para- 
graph 20 of the Plan under its heading "Immediate trans- 
fer of power", and defended the resulting Dominion Status 
not from the imputation of Britain's desire to retain a 
foothold beyond her time but from the possible charge 
of quitting on her obligations. Therefore, he said, it was 
abundantly clear that British assistance should not be with- 
drawn prematurely if it was still required. 

Jinnah in one of the earlier interviews had startled 
Mountbatten by making a distinction between his agree- 
ment with and acceptance of a certain proposal. Mount- 
batten invoked this particular piece of pedantry to his 
own advantage to-day. 

After copies of the Plan had been handed round, he 
said he felt it would be asking the Indian Leaders to go 
against their consciences if he requested their full agree- 
ment. He was merely asking them to accept the .Plan in 
a peaceful spirit. When Nehru asked for a further de- 
finition of the difference between agreement and accept- 
ance, Mountbatten at once replied that agreement would 
imply belief that the right principles were being employed. 



bul he had to violate the principles of both sides, so could 
not ask for complete agreement. What he asked for was 
acceptance denoting belief that the Plan was a fair and 
sincere solution for the good of the country. Nehru then 
said that while there could never be complete approval 
of the Plan by Congress, on balance they accepted it. 
Nishtar rounded otr these devious dialectics by pointing 
out that acceptance of the Plan really implied agreement 
to make it work. Mountbatten cordially agreed, and from 
that moment knew that the essential battle was won. 

Jinnah then embarked upon an elaborate explanation as 
to why he, the all-powerful Quaid-e-Azam, could not take 
any decision himself. He entered into the spirit of the 
proposals, he said, but both he and his Working Committee 
would have to go before their masters, the people, prior 
to a final decision. Mountbatten observed that there were 
limes when leaders had to make vital decisions without 
consulting their followers and trust to carrying them with 
them at a later stage. A decision taken at the top and 
afterwards confirmed by the people would be in accord- 
ance with democratic procedure. 

Jinnah then went as near to the brink of affirmative 
decision as could reasonably be expected from one who 
had got so far by saying "no** so often. He emphasised 
that he would go to his masters, the people, with no in- 
lent <>f wrecking the Plan, but with the sincere desire to 
persuade them to accept it. He could only give his person- 
al assurance that he would do his best. He would try in 
his own way to bring round his own people. 

Mountbaltcn wanted the reactions of the Congress and 
Moslem League Working Committees and of the Sikhs 
by midnight. Kripalani and Baldev Singh agreed to send 
a letter that evening. Jinnah felt unable to report the 
opinions of his Working Committee in writing, but agreed 
to come and see the Viceroy and make a verbal report. 
This satisfied Mountbatten. 

To crown his success he secured the agreement of 
Nehru, Jinnah and Baldev Singh to follow him with 


broadcasts to the people over All India Radio to-morrow 
evening. Mountbatten said he would let them see his 
script in the morning. Patel, who had said very little, 
pointed out with a wry smile that the general rule was 
for the scripts of broadcast speeches to be submitted to 
the Honourable Member for Information (i.e., himself) 
before thev were used. Jinnah without a smile retorted 
he would say in his broadcast what came from his heart. 

Never was Mountbatten's genius, for informal chairman- 
ship and exposition more signally displayed. His natural 
talent for this procedure had been enhanced by three years 
of almost daily discussion as Supreme Commander. Ver- 
non told me he had never seen him more alert, keeping 
the discussion within his chosen terms of reference. The 
atmosphere at the outset was undoubtedly tense, but his 
opening speech soon brought with it the sense of sweet 
reasonableness and genuine goodwill underlying his whole 
sponsorship of the Plan. Not even Mr. Jinnah's formality 
and stillness could resist Mountbatten's urgent will to 
succeed . 

As planned beforehand, Mountbatten asked Jinnah to 
stay behind partly lo counterbalance any Moslem League 
criticism that he was about to see Gandhi, who never 
comes in company with Congress leaders, in a separate in- 
terview, and partly to apply more personal persuasion and 
form a clearer judgement of the ultimate attitude he is 
likely to take. But Jinnah made no comment. All will 
now turn on his midnight visitation. 

Then at 12.30 the Mahatma arrived. In one sense he 
has been present throughout the whole proceedings, and 
uncertainty as to his ultimate reaction to the formal pre- 
sentation of a Partition Plan undoubtedly had an inhibit- 
ing effect on the Congress leaders earlier in the morning. 
They were only too well aware of Gandhi's unpredictable 
response to the promptings of his inner voice. There have 
been widespread fears that he will at the bidding of his 
complex conscience go lo extreme lengths to wreck the 
Plan in one final effort lo prevent the vivisection of India. 



Mountbatten faced this interview with considerable trepi- 
dation. Imagine his amazement and relief when the 
Mahatma blandly indicated on the backs of various used 
envelopes and other scraps of paper that he was observ- 
ing a day of silence. 

When the interview was over Mountbatten picked up 
the various bits of paper, which he thinks will be among 
his more historic relics. On them the Mahatma had writ- 
ten: "I am sorry 1 can't speak; when I took the decision 
about the Monday silence I did make two exceptions, i.e., 
about speaking to high functionaries on urgent matters or 
attending upon sick people. But I know you don't want 
me to break my silence. Have I said one word against 
you during my speeches? If you admit that I have not, 
your warning is superfluous. There are one or two things 
I must talk about, but not to-day. But if we meet each 
other again I shall speak.'' 

Behind this quaint procedure lay a gieat act of political 
renunciation, of self-effacement and of self-control. When 
I went in to have a few words with Mountbatten about 
the Press communique at the end of this momentous morn- 
ing I, too, collected a trophy from the small round table 
— nothing other than a "doodle" by Mr. Jinnah extracted 
from his subconscious at the moment of his greatest poli- 
tical victory. I am no psychologist, but I think J can 
detect the symbols of power and glory here. 

At four o'clock we had a Staff Meeting, and had a com- 
plete run through of the paper on "The Administrative 

Consequences of Partition". This is a masterly document 
of some thirty foolscap pages, largely prepared by John 
Christie, and it will certainly not be possible for posterity 
to say that we found a political answer at the expense of 
an administrative one. Here is the master plan which, 
under the umbrella of Dominion Status, should make pos- 
sible essential continuity for the new regimes. 



vic eroy's noi r sr, WAV dklhi, Tuesday, 3rd June, 1947 
Mount batten began the day wit h an early morning Staff 
Meeting, at which he told us of his dramatic midnight 
encounter with Jinnah. As Jinnah had categorically re- 
fused to give any answer to the Plan in writing, Ismay 
joined Mount batten as a second witness of what he was 
ready to say. He began by reiterating at great length the 
remarks he had made round the conference table in the 
morning, and no amount of pressure from Mountbatlen 
would make him agree in a firm acceptance from the 
Moslem Leacue Council when thev met. All he would 
undertake was that he would use his best endeavours to 
persuade ihem in a constitutional manner to accept and 
that his Working Committee would support him. 

Mountbatlen then reminded Jinnah that the Congress 
Party were terribly suspicious of this particular tactic, 
which he always used, whereby he wailed until the Con- 
gress Party had made a firm decision about some plan, 
and then left himself the right to make whatever decision 
suited the Moslem League several days later. Mount- 
batten warned him that Nehru, Kripalani and Patel had 
made an absolute point that they would reject the Plan 
unless the Moslem League accepted it simultaneously with 
themselves: and furthermore accepted it as a final settle- 

Nothing Mountbatlen could say would move him; he 
once more took refuue behind the excuse that he was not 
constitutionally authorised to make a decision without the 
concurrence ot the full Moslem League Council, and point- 
ed out that he could not in any case call this Council 
Meeting for several days. Mount batten then said, "If 
lhal is your attitude, then the leaders of the Congress 
Party and Sikhs will refuse final acceptance at the meet- 
ing in the morning; chaos will follow, and you will lose 
your Pakistan, probably for good." "What must be, 
must be," was his only reaction, as he shrugged his 
M. M. — 5 




Mountbatten then said, "Mr. Jinnah! I do not intend 
to let you wreck all the work that has gone into this settle- 
ment. Since you will not accept for the Moslem League, 
1 will speak for them myself. I will take the risk of say- 
ing that J am satisfied with the assurances you have given 
me, and if your Council fails to ratify the agreement, you 
can place the blame on me. I have only one condition, 
and that is that when I say at the meeting in the morn- 
ing, 'Mr. Jinnah has given me assurances which 1 have 
accepted and which satisfy me/ you will in no circum- 
stances contradict that, and that when 1 look towards 
you, you will nod your head in acquiescence. " 

Jinnah's reply to the proposition itself was to nod his 
head without any verbal undertaking. Mountbatten's 
final question was: Did Jinnah consider that he (Mount- 
batten) would be justified in advising AUlee to go ahead 
and make his announcement to-morrow? To this he re- 
plied, tk Yes". On this last assurance Mountbatten and 
Ismay both felt that the maximum possible measure of 
acceptance had been wrung out of him prior to his meet- 
ing with the Moslem League Council in a week's time. 

Shortly after Jinnah left, Kripalani's letter arrived. It 
makes certain reservations of detail, but constitutes a firm 
general acceptance of the Plan on behalf of the whole 
Congress Working Committee. 

At their second meeting, Mountbatten resumed by duly 
reporting on Jinnah's visit to him last night and his ac- 
ceptance of Jinnah's assurances and proposed action. 
Jinnah confirmed this by the appropriate silence and nod 
of the head. He ttten referred to the three Parties' grave 
objections to different specific parts in the Plan, and was 
grateful that these had been aired. But since he knew 
enough of the situation to realise that not one of the sug- 
gestions would be accepted by either of the other Parties, 
he did not propose to raise them at this meeting. He ac- 
cordingly asked all the Leaders to signify their consent to 
this course, which they did; thus voluntarily but almost 



unwittingly disposing of every substantial point of con- 
troversy . 

After Mounlbatten had pronounced that the Plan seem- 
ed to represent as near to a hundred per cent agreement 
as it was possible to get, Jinnah. Kripalani and Baldev 
Singh all added that they considered that the Viceroy had 
correctly interpreted and recorded their views. Mount- 
batten said the Plan would now be announced officially, 
and none of the Leaders raised any objection. 

It luoked, therefore, as though all would be plain sail- 
ing, but when Mountbatten appealed for restraint on the 
part of subordinate leaders and the burial of ihe past 
in order to open up the prospect of building a fine future, 
Liaquat could not resist the temptation to suggest that 
restraint was needed not so much from subordinate as 
from super leaders, for example, Mr. Gandhi at his Prayer 
Meetings. This touched oil all the old bitterness of feel- 

Jinnah and Liaquat insinuated that Gandhi was inciting 
the people to do as they liked and look to other autho- 
rities than the Leaders at this conference, while Kripalani 
retorted that all Gandhi's actions were devoted to non- 
violence, and Patel considered that Gandhi would abide 
loyally by any decision taken. Mountbatten was obliged 
to bring this dangerous discussion to a halt by saying he 
thought the subject had been ventilated sufficiently. He 
accepted Mr. Gandhi's special position on the one hand, 
and on the other was sure the Congress Leaders would 
appreciate the point of what had been said. 

Mountbatten then with a dramatic gesture, lifting it 
above his head and banging it down on the table, pre- 
sented "The Administrative Consequences of Partition" 
to the startled Leaders. This high-powered Sipff paper, 
which Mountbatten has had made ready,,for this day, con- 
tains thirty-four closely typed pages of foolscap, and is 
already a masterpiece of compression. This brings the 
Leaders within the hour right up against the hard execu- 
tive realities of their political decision. As Mountbatten 



said afterwards, the severe shock that its appearance gave 
to everyone present would have been amusing if the gene- 
ral atmosphere of administrative indifference were not so 

Here again a slip of the tongue, the merest molehill, 
was built up characteristically, if unwittingly, to mountain- 
ous proportions. Mountbatien suggested that there might 
be preliminary consideration of the paper before it was 
submitted to a "Cabinet meeting".* Liaquat and Jinnah 
at once raised elaborate objections to the "Cabinet in the 
United Kingdom" 1 being the deciding authority. Several 
minutes had passed before it became clear that Jinnah 
had understood Mountbatien to be referring to the Bri- 
tish, and not the Indian Cabinet or Interim Government. 
He then complained that he had been misled. "You 
mean the Viceroy's Fxecutive Council. A spade should 
be called a spade." His mind, he said, worked in con- 
stitutional terms. 

Liaquat then asked whether majority votes would de- 
cide the issue in the inter- Party Partition Committee which 
it was proposed in the paper to set up. Mountbatten said 
no, negotiations would be on the basis of what was fair. 
He relied on a new spirit entering into the discussions, now 
that the issue of Partition had beer, finally settled. Liaquat 
replied sharply that it was not a matter of a new spirit, 
there was difference of opinion on the critical issue of 
the division of the Armed Forces. 

The discussion, surprisingly perhaps, moved into calmer 
waters. It was quickly agreed that division should be 
made on the basis*of citizenship, which in its turn would 
be based on considerations of geography. Jinnah declar- 
ed stoutlv that it would be his intention in Pakistan to 
observe no communal differences, and those who lived 
there, regardless of creed, would be fully fledged citizens. 

At four o'clock the members of the States Negotiating 
Committee assembled in the Council chamber to be given 
in advance of to-night's official announcements and 
speeches the background to the decisions reached by 



Mount batten and the Leaders. It was a difficult meet- 
ing. Once again a photographic circus provided light re- 
lief and enabled Mountbatten to gel off to a friendly and 
informal Mart. 

Round the big oval table were seated the cream of the 
Princely counsellors. Their Highnesses of Bhopal. Patiala, 
Dungapur, Nawanagar and Bilaspur. Sir Mir/a Ismail, 
Dewan of Hyderabad. Sir B. L. Milter of Baioda, Sir 
Ramaswami Mudaliar of Mysore, Kak of Kashmir, Srini- 
vasan of Ciwalior, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyer of Tra- 
vancore. Sir V. T. Krishnamachari of Jaipur, Panikkar of 
Bikaner, Sir Sultan Ahmed, and D. K. Sen representing 
the Chamber of Princes. 

It is interesting to note how many of the finest Indian 
minds from British India are Prime Ministers of the States. 
Many of them are front-rank lawyers, which aids them 
in their approach to such constitutional conundrums as 
the lapse of Paramountcy. Their relationship to the 
Princes they serve is very much that of a barrister with 
a valuable brief. 

After another very skilful and persuasive explanation 
of the origin and purpose of the Plan, Mountbatten was 
subjected to some acute cross-examination on its appli- 
cation to the Indian States. They were all particularly- 
anxious to know whether it would be possible to arrange 
for Paramountcy to lapse before the actual transfer of 
power in British India— the assumption being, of course* 
that the States would then be in a better position to bar- 
gain with the successor governments. 

Mountbatten did his best to inject a sense of reality into 
the meeting. The creation of two new States would in- 
evitably mean two strong central governments which could 
not afford to delegate their powers instead of one weak 
one lor the whole sub-continent which could. On the 
other hand, he fell that the acceptance of Dominion Status 
by them both offered a measure of protection as well as 
compensation to those Princes who had stood so loyally 
by their alliances and friendship with Britain. Whatever 



decisions they reached, he advised them to cast their minds 
forward ten years and to consider what the situation in 
India and the world was likely to be by then. 

I accompanied Mountbatten in the Viceregal Rolls to 
AH India Radio, where officials were leaning out of all 
the windows and cramming the balconies. A small crowd 
had also gathered round the entrance to the building. Fay, 
who was on a balcony, told me afterwards that a small 
group of Sadhus, distinctive in their bright caps of holy 
orange, began shouting out slogans just as we were enter- 
ing the building. No sooner had they started to demon- 
strate than they were scooped into our following police 
car. The neatness of the operation made the assembled 
Indians, otherwise passively polite, scream with laughter. 
These Sadhus have come from various parts of the coun- 
try, and have pitched their tents on the banks of the 
Jumna, there to protest against the betrayal of Hindu life 
and custom which they are convinced any form of Parti- 
tion must involve. 

After a brief voice test, Mountbatten spoke with a slow 
and deliberate diction, in contrast to the quick-fire delivery 
of his private conversation. It was a well-balanced oration 
without hyperbole, relying for its impact if anything on 
under- statement. This was undoubtedly the right note for 
Mountbatten to strike. His message was subdued and 
objective at the moment of personal triumph. 

We were riddling with lights and voice timings through- 
out Nehru's moving address, which was compelling alike 
in its mood and expression. Here was neither arrogance 
nor apology, but a true reflection of the sadness which 
accompanies all success — the frustration in victory. Per- 
haps Nehru's greatest strength is that although he has 
reached the heights as a partisan campaigner he retains 
detachment of spirit. The artist and the scholar in him 
are always near the surface. So at this climactic moment 
he was able to say, "We are little men serving great 
causes, but because the cause is great something of that 
greatness falls upon us also." 



Then followed Jinnah. The experts in Moslem League 
dialectic assured me that his speech was a masterpiece. 
As one of them put it to me immediately afterwards, 
"This is the language that will be understood in the 
bazaars, and it means peace." By objective standards I 
could not detect the magic. He seemed to me on this oc- 
casion to be well below the level of events which he had 
done so much to create. 

Nehru's last words had been "Jai Hind", Jinnah closed 
with "Pakistan Zindabad". This he said in such a clip- 
ped voice that some startled listeners thought at first that 
the Quaid-e-A/am had thrown dignity to the winds and 
pronounced "Pakistan's in the bag"! 

Baldev vSingh spoke last, and in view of the unmitigated 
loss which Partition meant for the Sikhs and the intense 
bitlerncss it was likely to engender among his co-religion- 
ists, his words were eloquent and courageous. He gave 
a clear call to India's Defence Forces to uphold their 
high standards of discipline, particularly against the pres- 
sures of unpleasant internal security duties. In contrast 
to Jinnah, he saw the Plan not as a compromise. **l 
prefer to call it a settlement." 

vin.Rov's Housr, ni.w dllhi, Wednesday, 4th June, 1947 
This morning to an audience of some three hundred 
representatives of the Indian and world's Press in the Le- 
gislative Assembly, Mountbatten has given the most bril- 
liant performance I have ever witnessed at a major Press 
conference. He began without note or loss of word, ex- 
pounding for some three-quarters of an hour a political 
Plan of the utmost complexity both in its detail and im- 
plication. It was a speech which must have cleared many 
lurking doubts among that audience of professional scep- 
tics about the Plan's substance and purpose. 

When a correspondent tried to draw him on the Moslem 
League's demand for a "Corridor" -and thus, on a point 
never discussed in the Plan — he replied, "Which para- 
graph in the Plan are you referring to?" He was ques- 



tioncd about the Sikhs — their prospects and attitude — 
and he made it clear that the whole Sikh problem under 
the Plan had given him probably more concern than any 
other single issue. He was pressed in particular about 
the terms of reference of the Boundary Commission which 
Is to work out the actual lines of demarcation in the Pun- 
jab and Bengal and the Moslem majority district of Syl- 
het, in Assam. When a Sikh correspondent asked whether 
a property qualification would be a factor, Mountbatten 
smilingly replied, "His Majesty's Government could hard- 
ly be expected to subscribe to a Partition on the basis of 
landed property -least of all the present Government." 

During the Conference he gave the first informal indi- 
cation that 15th August would be the likely date for the 
actual transfer of power to the two new Dominions. Ac- 
tually it was on this issue of Dominion Status that he was 
subjected to the most searching scrutiny of all, and was 
involved in an encounter with Devadas Gandhi, who has 
a most disarming manner, and who by the persistence 
of his inquiries gave a possible clue, I felt, to his father's 
stale of mind. 

Mountbatten did not at first quite follow the drift 
of what Devadas was asking: but it was, in effect, that 
the British should reject any offer on the part of any 
single individual State to become a Dominion, and should 
insist on India as a whole reaching a decision on the ques- 
tion of membership of the Commonwealth. He said he 
felt there was "a great potential for mischief" in allow- 
ing the respective Constituent Assemblies the ultimate 
decision on this matter. Behind the inquiry was the old 
suspicion that Dominion Status was something Jess than 
independence, together with the new one that if Pakistan 
opted to remain in and India to go out, Pakistan might 
become a base for British imperialism. 

Mountbattcn's last words on the subject were, "From 
all the questions that have been asked there is one thing 
which I sincerely believe is not yet clear to the people. 
Somehow people seemed to have some doubts about this 



word 'Dominion Status*. It is absolute independence in 
every possible way, with the sole exception that the Mem- 
ber States of the Commonwealth are linked together volun- 
tarily. In fact they look for support, mutual trust and in 
due course affection." 

Whether or not Devadas was wholly satisfied with the 
answers to his particular points, the enthusiasm of the 
correspondents as a whole, judging from the spontaneous 
applause when Vallabhbhai Palel, who was in the chair, 
called the proceedings to a close, was remarkable from 
such a case-hardened body. J spoke to some of them 
afterwards. Andy Mellor of the Daily Herald describ- 
ed himself to me as stunned by the performance, saying 
that he had never heard anything like it and did not 
expect to do so again: Fric Britter called it a tour de 
force; while Bob Stimson drew attention to its impact on 
the Americans, who had been deeply impressed by the 
argument— which was for them a revelation — that Domi- 
nion Status provided the bgst constitutional means for 
transfer of power, and spell genuine freedom for India, 
and was not just a device for enabling the British to hold 

Mounlbatten on his returrf to Viceroy's House soon had 
indications that there was more underlying Devadas* 
doubts than had appeared at the Conference, and all was 
not well with the Mahatma. who was proposing to make 
highly critical comment on the Plan at his Prayer Meet- 
ing this evening. Indeed, last night, just before the Lead- 
ers were due to broadcast, he had indicated that they were 
not above or beyond criticism, and had even gone so far 
as to single out Nehru for a double-edged comment. After 
referring to him as "our King", he added, "We should 
not be impressed by everything the King does or does 
not do. If he has devised something good for* us, wc 
should praise him. Tf he has not, then we shall say so." 

Mountbatten wisely decided that the time had come to 
clear the air with Gandhi and to prevent his apparent 
misgivings taking firmer and more dangerous shape. So 



just before the Prayer Meeting he invited him to come 
round to Viceroy's House. Gandhi was clearly in a state 
of some distress, feeling under the first impact of the Plan 
.that his lifelong efforts for the unity of Hindus and Mos- 
lems had fallen about him. But Mountbatten, summon- 
ing all his powers of persuasion, urged him to consider 
(he Announcement not as a Mountbatten but as a Gandhi 
Plan; in all sincerity he had tried to incorporate Gandhi's 
major concepts of non-coercion, self-determination, the 
earliest possible date of British departure, and even his 
sympathetic views about Dominion Status. 

Once again Mountbatten carried the day; just how de- 
cisively can be seen by what Gandhi said to-night. "The 
British Government is not responsible for Partition," he 
told the Prayer Meeting. "The Viceroy has no hand in 
it. Jn fact he is as opposed to division as Congress itself, 
but if both of us — Hindus and Moslems — cannot agree 
on anything else, then the Viceroy is left with no choice." 
The Viceroy had worked y^ry hard and had tried his 
utmost to bring about a compromise. This Plan was the 
only basis on which agreements could be reached. The 
Viceroy did not want to leave the country in chaos; hence 
all his efforts. Never surely had a Viceroy achieved such 
swift and decisive conquest over Gandhi's heart and mind. 

I had a personal telegram of yesterday's date from Joyce 
reporting, "A packed House of Commons listened with 
intense interest to Prime Minister's announcement this 
afternoon. Proposals and first reaction from India un- 
doubtedly created profound gratification among all Par- 
ties. Sense of unity and recognition of tremendous issues 
and possibilities involved were comparable only with most 
historic moments during war." After referring to the 
splendid B.B.C. reception and coverage he ended, "This 
has been a great day for us all". 

Mountbatten held a Staff Meeting at 7.30 this evening. 
Having broken the deadlock of a generation, there is still 
to be no respite for him or indeed any of us. 



Already I detect the first sign of a storm over the States. 
Bhopal has resigned his position as Chancellor of the 
Chamber of Princes, and cannot be deflected from a course 
of personal isolation and independence which runs coun- 
ter to all the current developments. 

Nehru is not reacting -favourably to the Paper on the 
"Administrative Consequences of Partition", and there 
will clearly now be much more acute difficulty in main- 
taining the structure and existence of the Interim Govern- 

vjci roy's Housr. nj;w dli.hi, Thursday, 5th June, 1947 
George Jones, the New York Times correspondent, who 
has been very ill and is due to leave India in the next 
few days, came round to see me this morning to ask for 
my personal impressions of Mountbatlen in about three 
hundred words, as he wants his last feature to be an ap- 
preciation of the Viceroy. Mountbatten in three hundred 
words? It is not easy at close range. But I have dictat- 
ed this note: — 

"Perhaps the most abiding impression is his tremendous: 
creative energy, by which I mean not only the energy 
which is in himself, but which he injects into all about 

"In the three biggest jobs of his life to date- -Chief of 
Combined Operations, Supreme Commander and Viceroy 
—his capacity as a morale-raiser was given the fullest 
scope, for he took on all three jobs when the respective 
situations were at lowest ebb and morale accordingly de- 

"By upbringing and temperament he is at home wfthi 
high politics. There is his renowned charm of manner, 
and sensitivity to the personal nuances on which *so many 
great political events depend. 

"His position as Supreme Allied Commander was gootf 
training for this job. It involved semi-political respon- 
sibility on behalf of more than one nation; it was some- 



thing new in war, and Mountbatten and Eisenhower were 
probably the only two military leaders who really had 
the chance of a full 'work ouf in this capacity. During 
the nine months after the collapse of Japan, as the virtual 
military Governor of a vast area comprising half a dozen 
countries and some one hundred and twenty million 
people, he was wholly absorbed in tremendous problems 
affecting simultaneously the status of Indonesia and French 
Indo-China, peace with Siam, the rehabilitation of Burma 
and the maintenance of law and order in Malaya. To- 
gether they comprised the most intensive training-ground 
possible for him in the psychology of Eastern nationalism 
prior to becoming Viceroy. 

"He is essentially an extrovert character, who does not 
relish silence or solitude, but is at his very best in public. 

"With his staff, he thinks aloud. He carries less pre- 
judices than any man f have ever known, and although 
he can be relied upon for a clear and decisive point of 
view, he always requires of himself and his staff good 
reason for holding it. His objectivity and disinterested- 
ness, which spring from a number of 1 actors — scientific 
training, interest in things mechanical. Royal birth which 
removes a great many ol the normal temptations of per- 
sonal ambition- -are tremendous sources of strength to 

"It would be wrong to suggest a faultless image, and 
perhaps the most serious defect is a tendency to get caught 
up in trivial detail without realising that it is trivial. Allied 
to this trait is anxiety over secondary problems and vanity 
over minor achievements. It must be confessed, how- 
ever, that in the present assignment he has remained 
firmly at his own level, and throughout the five years I 
have been with him J have always found him giving those 
who serve him the fullest measure of responsibility and 
support. All in all a rare and refreshing spirit, and 
whether on the quarter deck or in Viceroy's House, a 
democratic leader of the first magnitude." 


This morning Mountbatten held his third meeting with 
the Leaders, at which the paper on "Administrative Con- 
sequences of Partition" was fully discussed. It was very 
hard going, with both sides anxious above all to avoid 
administrative decisions and largely unaware of their 
meaning. Jinnah was at great pains to explain that both 
States would be independent and equal in every way, 
while Nehru was equally insistent that India was carry- 
ing on in every way as before, and that Pakistan was the 
outcome of permission to dissident Provinces to secede, 
which must not be allowed to interrupt the work of the 
Government of India or the continuity of its foreign policy. 
In this atmosphere of recrimination Mountbatten made it 
clear that he would not accept the continued requests of 
both sides to act as arbitrator on all outstanding matters in 
dispute. They have agreed to try to find a mutually ac- 
ceptable judge for this thankless task. 

The Plan, now forty-eight hours old, has undoubtedly 
led to a detente throughout the country as a whole, but 
among the Leaders in Delhi it has induced no brotherly 
love. The situation here is still very tense, and is such 
that the most trivial incident could touch off a major crisis. 



victroy's Hoiisi, niw Di uir, Sunday, Hth June, 1947 
Thl corl oi«" Mountbatten \s problem remains political, 
and the most immediate danger is of the dissolution of the 
Interim Government caused by the resignation of one or 
other of its component parts. It w:is always a feeble 
instrument. Now that the principle of Partition is effec- 
tively accepted, there is not even the pretence of inner 
loyalty and purpose to hold it together. Mountbatten 
realises only too clearly, however, that if one or other 



of the Parties were to resign from it before Partition is 
ratified by Act of Parliament in Westminster, the pros- 
pects of the 3rd June Plan would be gravely imperilled 
and his own position hopelessly compromised. 

To-day it seemed that this very peril was upon us, for 
the Cabinet meeting was only just saved by a desperate 
diversion on Mountbatten's part from breaking up in 
complete disorder. In an effort to narrow the contro- 
versy by limiting its duties, he suggested a moratorium on 
all policy decisions and high-grade appointments. 

A formula was found for submitting these matters to 
Mountbatten direct, to avoid contentious issues being de- 
cided by Ihe inevitable Congress ma'jority vole in the Cabi- 
net. At this point Nehru sought Mountbatten's approval 
for certain diplomatic appointments which he asked him 
to agree were not the concern of Pakistan. Liaquat at 
once objected, saying that he did not, for instance, wish 
to see an Ambassador appointed to Moscow. Unfortu- 
nately, just such an appointment was envisaged, and the 
nominee was none other than Nehru's sister, Mrs. Pandit. 

The ensuing scene was babel, with everyone talking 
furiously at once. Nehru asserted that rather than toler- 
ate Moslem League interference in the Government 's af- 
fairs he would insist on a majority vote being taken, and 
that if the Government was to be turned over to the 
League he would immediately resign. Mountbatten had 
finally to call each member of the Cabinet individually 
to order, deferring further discussion of the particular issue 
and adding. ' fc We are not going on with the next item 
until there is a row of smiling faces in front of me." This 
had the intended effect. Everyone laughed; the tension 
was broken. But thelncident shows by how thin a thread 
the success of the Plan hangs. Critical days and decisions 
lie ahead of us. 

vicf roy's housl, nlw di r.Hi, Monday, 9th June, 1947 
At our Staff Meeting to-day there was a prolonged dis- 
cussion on the implications of Dominion Status, and in 



particular of Mountballen remaining on after the transfer 
of power to serve ior a limited period as joint Governor- 
General of both Dominions. This concept has been en- 
couraged on the one hand by Congress's willingness to 
propose him without condition either in this capacity or 
as Governor-General of India alone, and on the other by 
Jinnah urging that he should definitely stay on to see the 
Interim phase through in the capacity of a unifying head 
of the two States. 

Mountbatten's first assumption was that Jinnah also 
had in mind a common Governor-General, but only when 
he was in London did it become apparent that Jinnah 
wanted three Governors-General, one of India, one of 
Pakistan and one, Mountbatten himself, in an overall posi- 
tion as Supreme Arbitrator for the division of assets, most 
of which, of course, are in Jndia. This was quickly ruled 
out by the British Government as impracticable. Mount- 
batten also told him frankly that it would be quite im- 
possible for himself to assume this supra-national role; 
but at the same time has been pressing the advantages 
from Pakistan's point of view of a joint Governor-Gene- 
ralship as the best guarantee of a fair physical transfer. 
He has frankly advised us, however, that he is most averse 
to staying should the invitation come from only one side. 
Jinnah so far has been careful to conceal his final inlen- 
lion. If it is in favour of a joint Governor-Generalship, 
some special provision will be needed, however, in the 
Independence Act, and a decision from him within the 
next three weeks is essential. 

The All Jndia Moslem League Council met to-day in 
(he ballroom on the first floor of the Imperial Hotel. To- 
wards the end of its deliberations there was a sudden but 
apparently carefully planned eruption of Kfiaksars, who 
came in through the garden at the side of the hotel and 
startled peaceful residents during tea by rushing through 
the lounge brandishing belchas, or sharpened spades. With 
these formidable weapons they wrought the maximum of 
havoc in the minimum of time and, shouting "Get 



Jinnah!", were half-way up the staircase leading to the 
ballroom where Jinnah and the Council were still in ses- 
sion before Moslem League National Guards could grapple 
with them and turn them back. It took police with tear- 
gas to bring the disturbance to an end. 

Jinnah behaved with great composure. Sidney Smith 
of the Daily Express saw him afterwards, and told me that 
Jinnah had no doubt but that the assault was an attempt 
on his life. The only previous attempt to assassinate him 

in Bombay in 1943 — was made by a Khaksar. 

The Khaksars, or "Servants of the Dust", are a group 
of militant Moslem fanatics with much the same storm- 
trooper ideology as the far more formidable Rashtrya 
Swam vSevak Saneh, offshoot of the Hindu Mahasabha. 
Led by lnayatullah Mashriqi, they have been engaged on 
terrorist activities ever since their foundation in 1931. 
Their demand is for an undivided Pakistan stretching 
from Karachi to Calcutta, and to ihem Jinnah is as much 
the betraver of Moslem interests as Gandhi is in the eves 
of Hindu extremists of Hinduism. 

A party from Viceroy's House going along later in the 
evening for dinner round the place in the utmost disoider. 
The large grill-room was a shambles. Its air-coolers were 
smashed and its furniture broken up. The forces of 
fanaticism and revolution are on the move, and this in- 
cident confirms that the crust upholding order from the 
depths of chaos is dangerously thin. Under the present 
tense conditions all the leaders provide far too easy targets 
for far too many would-be assassins. 

viceroy's houst., nkw dli hi, Tuesday, 10th June, 1947 
The Moslem League Council has passed a resolution in 
phraseology designed to infuriate the Congress, but in 
terms which mark the nearest approach Jinnah is likely 
to make to a substantial acceptance of the Plan. After 
expressing satisfaction at the abandonment of the Cabinet 
Mission Plan, it qualifies its refusal to agree or give con- 
sent to the partition of Bengal and the Punjab by decid- 



ing that it had to consider the 3rd June Plan for the 
transfer of power as a whole, and by giving full authority 
to Jinnah to accept the Plan's fundamental principles as a 

Dominion Status and the joint Governor-Generalship 
was again the main theme at our Stall Meeting to-day. 
Jinnah makes no move and gives no sign. In the course 
of our discussion, which became somewhat discursive and 
hypothetical, Mountbatten said he believed there was con- 
siderable confusion in Nehru's mind about the magic date 
of June 1948. Nehru was apparently working at immense 
pressure to complete the new Constitution before that 
date, and had emphasised so strongly that this was his 
objective that Congress prestige might seriously suffer if 
ihey did not succeed. Mountbatten pointed out that the 
date of June 1948 now had no significance whatever, and 
he was anxious that J should stress this in all the back- 
ground information I gave to the Press. 

"•mi ri.trfm", mashohka, simla, 
Saturday, 14th June, 1947 
George Nicholls, Fay and I left yesterday for Simla 
shortly after 5 a.m. to cover as many miles of the parched 
plain as we could before the full heat of the sun beat 
down upon us. In these early hours there is a life-giving 
freshness in the air and it is easy to understand why many 
Indians — Sardar Pale! among them- -are up by -4.30 in 
the morning, completing nearly half a day's work before 

We reached "The Retreat" by lea-lime - the beginning 
for me of a week's withdrawal from the Delhi ferment. 
Our Simla visit last month was no respite, but, on the 
contrary, the most critical and exacting phase of all the 
negotiations leading to the 3rd June. 

In the Himalayan stillness, where no 'phone rings, it is 
possible now to pause and take stock of the progress to 
date and the task ahead. I wrote in this vein to mv 
mother to-day:-- 



"Mountballen's diplomacy has succeeded for several 
reasons, but primarily because of his own personality. 
He is a wonderful talker, and able to put across his own 
essential sincerity. The outward expression of the man 
is his weaving energy. He never lets up, and never allows 
a situation to harden against himself. When towards the 
end of April the situation looked more than usually dark 
and uncertain, Ismay roused my spirits by saying, 'J like 
working for lucky men/ No reflection, of course, was 
intended by him on Mountbatten's ability. On the con- 
trary, it is borne in on all of us that he induces success 
and outflanks failure by the range and variety of his 

"He is very sensitive to the different temperaments of 
those with whom he is negotiating, and has, as a result, 
won the complete confidence of Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru 
and Patel, who, in spite of their close identification with 
the struggle for independence, are as diverse a quartet as 
it is possible to imagine. He is, in short, my idea of a 
political thoroughbred. 

"I must stress the importance of Patel in the agreements 
so far reached. He has a rough exterior and uncompro- 
mising manner. His achievements tend to remain below 
the surface, but he was probably the first of the Congress 
High Command to realise that the 20th February state- 
ment implied Partition if a political settlement by June 
or before was to be achieved. Having absorbed 
that vital implication, he has never wavered, and has stood 
firm against the inner voices and neural indecisions that 
have sometimes afflicted his colleagues. 

"Palel's realism has also been a big factor in the ac- 
ceptance of the Dominion Status formula for which Mount- 
batten has worked so hard. This is inevitably a delicate 
plant. Personally I wish we could evolve an even looser 
Commonwealth concept which did not so directly involve 
the King's Sovereignty but could take in a Republic. This 
needs close consideration, because I believe the present 
symbolic ties of the British Commonwealth are not really 



applicable to a Congress-controlled Indian Union, and 
should be modified to include for the first time on equal 
terms peoples of different races. 

"We are in the heart of Sikh country here, and the pre- 
vailing atmosphere is one of tension and foreboding. Since 
the beginning of June sentries have been on all-round-the- 
clock guard at *The Retreat* for the protection of our 
families and Moslem servants. Undoubtedly both Nehru's 
and Jinnah's speeches on the 3rd June helped to calm 
Hindu and Moslem fears and to avert the immediate out- 
break of a major communal conflict, and taking the sub- 
continent as a whole, the popular reaction has in fact been 
remarkably calm. Nevertheless, Sikh unrest in the Punjab 
is growing hourly. The implications of the 3rd June are 
now all too clear to the Sikh people. They see that the 
Partition of India means substantially and irrevocably the 
partition of the Sikhs, and they feel themselves to be sacri- 
ficed on the altars of Moslem ambition and Hindu 

"Lying along the perimeter of Hindu and Moslem 
power, the Sikhs number some six million - no more than 
twenty per cent of the total Punjab population- but they 
succeeded in achieving influence out of all proportion to 
their numbers by maintaining their own unity and holding 
an effective balance of power wilhin a United Punjab. 
With Partition, however, they are trapped, and no jug- 
gling of a Boundary Commission can prevent their bisec- 
tion. They react accordingly, and their leaders, hopelessly 
out-maii(Euvred in the political struggle, begin to invoke 
more primitive remedies. 

"Sikhism, which is based on a most complex religious 
and social structure, does not encourage, or at the present 
moment enjoy, leadership of high quality. Baldev Singh, 
Defence Minister in Nehru's Government, is, as his speech 
on 3rd June showed, a man of high character and wide 
vision, but he is a voice in the wilderness. Nor does 
Patiala, the leadiim Sikh Prince and Chancellor of the 
Chamber of Princes in succession to Bhopal, have a de- 



cisivc influence. Power is passing to the wilder men, such 
as Master Tara Singh and some of the younger l.N.A. 
officers. Rough weather lies ahead of us: in spite of all 
that has been already achieved, the outlook is still stormy 
and unsettled." 

\K f RO\\ Housr, NF:W pij.Hi, Monday, 23rd June, 1947 
During the past ten days Mountbattcn and the staff have 
been engaged in intensive operations over a wide front 
which may be said to add up lo general progress in the 
campaign to clinch acceptance of the Plan. The principal 
development has been the All India Congress Committee's 
clear endorsement of Partition. In spite of verbal cross- 
fire and an abortive effort to achieve a Concordat signed 
jointly by Kripalani and Jinnah, the main political de- 
cision of the two Parties can no longer be said to be seri- 
ously in doubt. 

At the decisive moment Gandhi came down in favour 
of acceptance, and the latent opposition among the more 
communally minded members of the Congress High Com- 
mand could not take shape against the frail little man's 
massive authority. 

As for the Provinces directly affected by the Plan, the 
Referendum for the North-west Frontier Province has, 
after much heart-searching and some evasive action, been 
accepted by Congress. At first Dr. Khan Sahib threatened 
to boycott it. but on Gandhi's advice the local Red-Shirt 
movement is to put its passive-resistance principles into 
practice and peacefully abstain. Caroc is retiring on leave 
while the referendum is being held. The letters exchanged 
between Mountbattcn and Caroc were duly released just 
before I left for Simla. Mountbattcn wisely decided to 
entrust the Province to a military regime and Lieutenant- 
General Sir Rob Lockhart, G.O.C.-in-C, Southern Com- 
mand, India, who knows the Frontier well, is to take 
Caroc's place as Governor to supervise this very delicate 
operation. Nevertheless, I think we can say that as far 



as politics at the centre are concerned the peak of the 
Frontier crisis has already passed. 

Over Bengal, Jinnah is being particularly difficult. While 
demanding portfolios in the Interim Government at the 
centre for his own Moslem League as a continuing right, 
he refuses them in the Interim Administration for the 
West Bengal Congressmen, 

Hie Punjab I cgislative Assembly has to-day formally 
opted for Partition, following on a similar decision in 
Bengal three days ago, where Suhrawardy's move to 
achieve an autonomous and united Province finally died 
away before the disfavour of the two great Parties. So 
the wheel turns full circle, and Congress, which in an 
earlier generation had bitterly opposed Curzon's partition 
of Bengal, now, forty years later, sponsors the self-same 

The Leaders have taken a basic decision about their 
policy towards the States in agreeing to the establishment 
of a States Department in Delhi which will deal with all 
matters of common concern and with the formulation of 
their final relationship. In the meanwhile it was agreed 
that the new Department should take over everything short 
of Paramountcy from the existing Crown Representative's 
Political Department. 

That Paramountcy after the transfer of power is a pro- 
blem bristling with political and legal difficulties has been 
brought home to Mountbatten from various discussions 
which he has had during the past ten days with the 
Leaders, with his old friend Sir Walter Monckton, con- 
stitutional adviser to the Ni/am, and with Bhopul and his 
adviser Sir Zaffrullah Khan.* They have been stiessing 
that what was good enough under the Cabinet Mission 
Plan is far from satisfactory under Partition, which is es- 
sentially a communal solution substituting two string cen- 
tral Governments for one weak one. So they were press- 
ing the claims of Dominion Status for some of the Stales. 

* Subsequently the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. 



Mountbatten has also seen for himself the paralysis of 
Princely uncertainty during his visit to Kashmir, from 
which he has only just returned to-day. Both Nehru and 
Gandhi have been very anxious that the Maharaja of 
Kashmir should make no declaration of independence. 
And Nehru, himself descended from Kashmiri Brahmins, 
has been pressing to visit the State himself to seek the 
release from prison of his friend Sheikh Abdullah, now 
President of the States Congress. Last year when Nehru 
visited the State he was himself placed under arrest by 
the Kashmir Government. Gandhi's view was that he 
himself ought to prepare the way for Nehru. The Maha- 
raja has made it very clear that he does not welcome a 
visit from cither. Mount batten succeeded in deferring 
bolh visits by saying he himself had a long-standing in- 
vitation from the Maharaja and would like to see him 

When he got there he found the Maharaja politically 
very elusive, and the only conversations that took place 
were during their various car drives together. Mount- 
batten on Ihese occasions urged him and his Prime Minis- 
ter, Pundit Kak, not to make any declaration of independ- 
ence, but to iind out in one way or another the will of the 
people of Kashmir as soon as possible, and to announce 
their intention by 14th August to send representatives ac- 
cordingly lo one Constituent Assembly or the other. He 
told them that the newly treated Slates Department was 
prepared to give an assurance that if Kashmir went to 
Pakistan this would not be regarded as an unfriendly act 
by the Government of India. He went on to stress the 
dangerous situalion*in which Kashmir would find itself if 
it lacked the support of one of the two Dominions by the 
dale of the transfer of power. His intention was to give 
this advice privately to the Maharaja alone, and then to 
repeat it in the presence of his Prime Minister with George 
Abell and the Resident, Colonel Webb, in attendance, at 
a small meeting where minutes could be kept. , 



The Maharaja suggested that the meeting should take 
place on the last day of the visit, to which Mount batten 
agreed, feeling that this would allow him the maximum 
chance to make up his mind, but when the time came the 
Maharaja sent a message that he was in bed with colic 
and would be unable to attend the meeting. Jt seems that 
this is his usual illness when he wishes to avoid difficult 

Needless to say, Mounlbatten is very disappointed at 
this turn of events. 

To-day's Staff Meeting had no fewer than eleven items 
on its agenda, including "Rcconstitution of the Executive 
Council", and "Governors-Genera r. Jinnah treats both 
subjects with oracular reserve, and, with an exasperating 
skill, conceals his intentions, leaving Congress and Mount- 
batten open to make the false move. Neither Congress 
nor the Moslem League arc showing any real awareness 
of the administrative magnitude and urgency of the pro- 
blems facing them. 

Nearly three weeks have passed since the Leaders receiv- 
ed the memorandum on the "Administrative Consequ- 
ences of Partition' 1 and accepted in principle the procedure 
it laid down by appointing the necessary Partition Com- 
mittees. Vernon has worked out a long list of outstanding 
items calling for action or decision on their part if full 
progress is to be made, to which they have so far failed 
to provide any semblance of an answer. 

The real weight is falling upon a Steering Committee of 
two men appointed after the Partition Committee's first 
meeting on 13th June. Nominated by the Congress and 
Moslem League representatives respectively, they are H, 
M. Patel, the Cabinet Secretary, and Mohammed Ali, 
Financial Adviser in the Military Finance Department. 
Both are Indian Civil Service men in mid -career .and of 
outstanding ability. 

With the assistance of expert sub-committees, which it 
has been wisely agreed should consist of officials only, 
both Patel and* Mohammed Ali are optimistic that the 



administrative principles of Partition can be settled quickly 
and most of the actual separation effected by the deadline 
of the 15th August. Jn the meanwhile they need rather 
more dynamic political support than has so far been forth- 

VK'hROY's i fon si, nfw Delhi, Tuesday, 24th June, 1947 
In spite of Gandhi's courageous and decisive interven- 
tion at the All India Congress. Committee in favour of 
the 3rd June Plan, one can never be quite sure when this 
volcano of non-violence will erupt. 

1 spoke to Devadas Gandhi on the telephone this morn- 
ing, asking when he was proposing to call the next meet- 
ing of the All India Editors' Conference, of which he is 
the Chairman, In the course of the conversation he drew 
my attention to a Reuters report from London describ- 
ing the forthcoming Parliamentary procedure for the en- 
actment of Indian Independence. This was nothing more 
than an account of the traditional ceremonial in both 
Houses covering the passage of all Bills into law, the in- 
troductory paragraphs of which were worded as follows: 
"The British Parliament in thirty minutes of solemn cere- 
mony will next month give Dominion Status to nearly 
four hundred million people of Hindustan and Pakistan. 
The Bill creating the two new nations, inscribed on vellum 
and parchment, will be drawn from a magnificent wallet 
embellished with the Royal Arms in colours and gold 
thread and read to both the Houses of Parliament."" 

Devadas said the reference to the creation of two new 
nations had very much distressed his father, whose view 
was that such a report emanating from Reuters must have 
Government authority behind it, and that this "two- 
nation" theory was wholly repugnant to the Congress out- 
look. In fact it had provoked the Mahatma into issuing 
a special message at his Prayer Meeting on Monday in 
which he had said, "The papers to-day talk of a grand 
ceremonial to take place in London over the division of 
India into 'two nations' which were only the other day 



one nation. What is there to gloat over in the tragedy? 
We have hugged the belief that though we part, we do 
so as friends and brothers belonging to one family. Now, 
if the newspaper report is correct, the British will make 
of us two nations, and that with a flourish of trumpets. 
Is that to be the parting shot? I hope not.' 1 

Devadas urged me to take the earliest opportunity to 
draw the Viceroy's attention to all this, and expressed the 
hope that Mountbatten might see his way to make some 
private disavowal of it, and, further, that I might be 
authorised to make a disclaimer that would be published. 
He added that his father felt so strongly about the matter 
that it could be taken fnr granted that he would raise it 
at his meeting with the Viceroy to-morrow. I spoke, 1 
hope, with sufficient suavity, for 1 was frankly amazed 
that such a great man could see fit to make so much of 
so inoffensive a slorv. I told him that I was sure much 
more was being read into it than it could possibly carry. 

I have reported on the whole thing to Mountbatten, 
whose reaction to this kind of psychological pressure is 
very healthy. It may perhaps be best summed up as the 
application of the guiding slogan of lsmay, who told me 
the other day that "each morning when I get up J say to 
myself Patience and proportion Y" 

The visit, planned some lime ahead and without regard 
to political developments, has in fact turned out to be 
very well-timed. Montgomery has been able to form his 
own impression of the progress so far made over the parti- 
tion of the Indian Army and to help decisively in solving 
the problem of the withdrawal of British forces from India. 
With regard to British troops a compromise agreement has 
been reached, largely conditioned by the shipping avail- 
able, that their withdrawal from India should ba phased 
over a period of six months from the date of transfer of 
power. Mountbatten has had Monty's support in resisting 
any suggestion that they should during this time be used 
in any operational role. He appreciates that it is not pos- 



sible to hedge a political transfer of power with military 

vk'FRoy's housl, nlw Dhi-Hi, Wednesday, 25th June, 1947 
Mievilie spoke to me in very strong terms about the 
delay over any decision on the Governor-General issue 
and considers it to be, apart from anything else, rank 
discourtesy on the part of J in nan, who continues to play 
the role of Delphic oracje and deal in riddles. 

Jossleyn Hennessy, correspondent of the Sunday Times 
and Kemsley Press, told me this morning that Jinnah's 
Secretary, Kurshid, had given him for publication the 
story that Pakistan does not want the same Governor- 
General as Hindustan, but that it will be impossible for 
Moumbatten to leave during the next few months, as there 
is so much for him to do. Bob Stimson also came round 
to tell me thai Kurshid had said much the same to him, 
but with the decorative addition that Pakistan's Governor- 
General must be of Royal blood. 

vin roy's iiousi, Ni'.w oiii in, Friday, 27th June, 1947 
Now that the Punjab and Bengal have declared in fa- 
vour of their own partition and, as a result, half of each 
will be taking their share in the formation of a new and 
separate Constituent Assembly, the full machinery for ad- 
ministering Partition is set in motion. The Partition Com- 
mittee, which was limited to Congress and Moslem League 
members of the Interim Government, now gives way to 
a Partition Council of wider authority which includes 
Jinnah and can tak$ final policy decisions. 

The new Council met for the first time to-day, with 
Mounlbatten once again in the chair and once again re- 
fusing arbitral status. But there is now no need for him 
to do so, as it accepted with surprising speed and unani- 
mity Jinnah's proposal thai Sir Cyril KadcliiTe should be 
invited to serve as chairman of the Punjab and Bengal 
Boundary Commissions, with the casting vote on both. 



Nehru, on his side, secured agreement for the Boundary 
Commission to work to very simple terms of reference, 
which are, to demarcate the boundaries of the new parts 
of either Province on the basis of ascertaining the conti- 
guous majority areas of Moslems and non-Moslems, and 
in so doing to "take account of other factors". This was 
a compromise which met the desire of both parties — the 
Moslem League hoping that wide terms of reference in 
Bengal would improve their chances of securing Calcutta, 
and the Congress and Sikhs calling for the inclusion of 
property and other qualifications to give them a belter 
chance in the Punjab. 

The original intention was to put l he vexed problem 
of boundary demarcation in the hands of the United 
Nations, bul Nehru objected, on the grounds that this 
would involve cumbersome procedure and unacceptable 
delay. RadcIinVs colleagues will be four High Court 
Judges on each Commission, two each nominated by 
Congress and two each by the Moslem League. It calls 
for no special prophetic gifts, however, to suggest that the 
onus of unpopular decision will almost certainly fall on 
RadcIifTe himself. 1 am sure Mounlbalten has been ab- 
solutely right not to involve his present or future functions 
in these Awards. 

vin .roy's not si,, Niw i)U,m, Saturday, 2Hth June, 1947 
At our Stalf Meeting to-dav Mountbatten's attention 
was drawn to a leading article in Dawn casting doubt upon 
the Viceroy's methods and impartiality in the handling of 
the Referendum under ihe 3rd June Plan to be conducted 
in Sylhet. The complaint is that he has not arranged for 
military supervision similar lo that provided in the North- 
west Frontier Province Referendum. Mountbatlen was 
at first taken aback on this point of fact, sayirfg, "My 
God, the fellow is right!" and adding that in the general 
rush of business he had not fully appreciated that the Re- 
ferendum was under his aegis in the same way as in the 
North-west Frontier Province. The implications of the 



attack in Dawn were wholly misleading, for no irregularity 
had occurred or was intended. 

I was given the somewhat delicate task of explaining to 
Altai" Hussain that the matter was being suitably dealt 
with. Hussain, whose gifts of self-expression are primarily 
in terms of invective, had closed his leading article with 
the threat that "If no satisfactory announcement is made 
within ihe next forty-eight hours we shall be compelled 
to return to the subject and indulge in some plain speak- 
ing". This was my opportunity to do the same with him 
at once. I then look him in a more reasonable frame of 
mind to see George Abell. and on the understanding that 
we would not be subjected to further threats and time- 
limits, we assured him that we would keep him posted 
with the steps the Viceroy proposed to take. 

We parted good friends. It must be confessed, how- 
ever, that Hussain is doing little more than reflect the cur- 
rent hauteur and touchiness of his Leader. Only to-day 
Mountbatten received a letter from Jinnah which provok- 
ed the strongest reaction I have ever heard from the usual- 
ly bland and urbane Ismay. "It was a letter", he said, 
"which I would not lake from my King or send to a 

vktroy's Hoiisi. ni w oi l Hi, Monday, 30th June, 1947 
The Partition Council, largely as a result of Mount- 
batten's inspiration, has most surprisingly agreed without 
delay or dispute to the procedure for the division of the 
Indian Armed Forces. 

Great praise is due both to Auchinleck and Jsmay for 
providing the framework in which "reconstilution" -as 
Auchinleck has shrewdly termed it can take place. But 
Mountbatten himself at the critical moment had the good 
sense to inject into the discussions Trivedi, the Governor 
of Orissa, who, as Secretary of the Defence Department 
during the war. is the only Indian civil servant with any 
experience of high-level defence organisation. He succeed- 
ed in quickly winning the confidence of Nehru and Sardar 



Paid, as well as enjoying the advantage of a long-standing 
friendship with Liaquat Ali Khan. Trivedi by intensive 
personal negotiation over the past week has succeeded in 
smoothing the way to concessions by both sides resulting 
in genuine compromise. 

The basic principle adopted is that India and Pakistan 
shall each have in their own territories Armed Forces, pre- 
dominantly non-Moslem and Moslem respectively, which 
as from 15th August are to be under their own operational 
control. Both sides have vehemently insisted on complete 
military independence as a condition of settlement, Jinnah 
and Liaquat Ali Khan openly asserting that they are not 
prepared to take over the reins of Government without 
their own Armed Forces in being. 

Both sides, too, have raised strong objection to any 
form of centralised administrative control after the 15th 
August, but here Mountbatten has once again intervened 
decisively by insisting that the administration of the Armed 
Forces should continue under Auchinleck until the Parti- 
tion of personnel and physical assets is complete. Briefly 
he is to remain in India in administrative control of Indian 
Armed Forces for the time being under a Joint Defence 
Council, to consist, besides himself, of the combined 
Governor-General or separate Governors-General and the 
two Defence Ministers. 

To avoid confusion with the new Commanders-in-Chief 
of both Dominions, Auchinleck will be called Supreme 
Commander from 15th August until his task is completed. 
The target date is 1st April. 1948, but in the meanwhile 
he is to have no responsibility for law and order or any 
operational control over any units save those in transit 
from one Dominion to another. 

It has never been possible to isolate the partitiop of the 
Indian Army from its wider political context. In all the 
circumstances of suspicion, ill-will and communal clash 
it is doubtful whether human ingenuity could have avoided 
this tragic necessity or achieved a more workman-like 



vici-roy's housi., nlw Di.Lin, Tuesday, 1st July, 1947 
The tension in the Punjab grows as 15th August ap- 
proaches. A straw in the wind is a letter which Auchin- 
leck has received and forwarded from a Sikh refugee in 
Delhi. He complains, that the Seventh Sikhs arc still in 
the Basra area protecting the Persian oil-zone, but that 
"during these twelve months tragic events have occurred 
in their home-land which have upset the minds of our 
brave Sikh brothers abroad. When India is being divided 
our men should be home with their kinsfolk. J trust you 
will issue orders for their speedy return to their home 
before the August drama unfolds itself." 

Jenkins reports that the situation in Lahore and Amritsar 
gives ground for grave concern. The violence takes the 
form of scattered but widespread arson and stabbing car- 
ried out by cloak-and-dagger techniques which are very 
difficult to suppress by normal police or military action. 
Having discovered how easy it is to burn down an Indian 
city, the incendiaries are particularly dangerous. Throw- 
ing fireballs through windows and skylights and making 
full use of roof-tops and narrow city lanes, they are al- 
most impossible lo catch in the act. 



VICi.RO\*S IIOl'Sl 7 , M W DI-.LHI. 

Wednesday, 2nd July, 1947 
Con(;rfss and Mosu m League leaders have been sitting 
in separate rooms at Viceroy's House poring over the terms 
of the Draft Dominions Bill, the title of which, incidental- 
ly, has been strengthened to that of "Indian Independence 
Bill". Jinnah had been excusing himself from taking any 
formal view about the C3overnor-Cieneralship until he had 
had a chance lo scrutinise the Bill, and delayed his de- 



cision for a few more hours under cover of a desire to 
consult with certain close colleagues who were engaged on 
the Referenda. 

He has at long last "come clean", and Jinnah's verdict 
goes in favour of Jinnah. He still professes to nurse the 
illusion that it would be possible for Mountbatten to super- 
vise a fair Partition by remaining in some stratospheric 
capacity above the two new Heads of State. Jinnah in- 
dicated that he had taken the decision somewhat against 
his will on the insistence of his dose friends, but it would 
be interesting to know who those friends are, as it would 
seem that his senior colleagues and well-wishers have been 
advising him strongly to the contrary, feeling he would 
have more power in his hands as Prime Minister. They 
were only too well aware that in the division of assets 
India starts with the initial advantage of having the over- 
whelming percentage of them in her physical possession, 
and that accordingly an eight-month spell with Mount- 
batten as joint Governor-General must be of primary ad- 
vantage to Pakistan. 

When IVTountbatlen asked him frankly whether he real- 
ised what his decision would cost the new State of his 
creation, Jinnah candidly admitted that it would possibly 
cost several crores of rupees in assets, but that he was 
unable to accept any position other than that of Governor- 
General of Pakistan on the 15th August. None-the-less 
he added that he particularly hoped Mountbatten would 
stay on as Governor-General of India, as he felt that this 
would help relations between the two Dominions. 

An emergency meeting of Mountbatten's stall' was held 
at fsmay's house at 9.30 this morning. The purpose was 
to consider various possible courses open to the Viceroy, 
who is placed in a most invidious and delicate position. 
Ismay thought it advisable for the stall" to examine the 
facts of the situation and clarify our own views in order 
to provide Mountbatten with objective advice before we 
exposed ourselves to his own inevitably subjective 



Jinnah has certainly maintained the element of suspense 
and surprise on this issue to the last moment. We all as- 
sumed that he would be bound to prefer the status and 
powers of Prime Minister to those of a constitutional 
Governor-General, and on the basis of this first assumption 
we went farther, and guessed that he would want to take 
advantage of Mountbatten as common Governor-General. 
Farthest from our thoughts was what has in fact happened 

Jinnairs self-selection and Mountbattcn's invitation 
from Congress alone. 

After a careful consideration the general consensus ol 
opinion was that in these unforeseen circumstances 
Mountbatten should be strongly advised to accept the un- 
conditional Congress offer to him and remain on as Go- 
vernor-General of the Dominion of India. The possible 
courses of action reduced themselves to three: — 

( 1 ) To agree to Jinnah becoming Governor-General 
of Pakistan, and for Mountbatten to stay on as Gover- 
nor-General of India alone. 

(2) To agree to Jinnah becoming Governor-General 
of Pakistan, and to ask Congress to nominate someone 
other than Mountbatten as Governor-General of India. 

(3) To devise a formula whereby Mountbatten would 
be enabled to remain as Governor-General of both 
l>ominions while at the same lime substantially satisfy- 
ing Jinnah's wishes to control Pakistan. 

In the meanwhile I have sent a wire to London sug- 
gesting that the Hdilor of the Evening Standard be invited 
to send a repre^ntative out It) India to study a few of 
the elementary facts of the situation here. This proposal 
has been prompted by an unusually reckless piece of 
"Bcaverbrookese". The proposition put before the 
Evening Standard readers in a leading article is, "If it 
was possible to set up two Dominions in India, then plain- 
ly, had the requisite statesmanship been available, it 
would have been possible to convert India into a single 



Dominion owing an undivided allegiance to the Crown*'. 
There are also some slap-happy references to "Balkani- 
satiori" and "an utterly reactionary step'*, and the whole 
of our efforts are denounced as "political auction". 

What a pity that Beaverbrook, who genuinely believes 
in a liberal Empire in the Western and Southern Hemis- 
pheres, does not seem to understand what men of good- 
will, who also seek a similar dispensation, are trying to do 
here in the East. 

viceroy's house, new DbLHi. Thursday. 3rd July, 1947. 

We had our Staff Meeting with Mounlbatten this after- 
noon, and he asked for our views on ;he Governor-Gene- 
ralship round the table one by one. All but one of us 
urged upon him that, in the interests of India, Pakistan 
and Britain, it was his clear duly to accept the Congress 
invitation. Our virtual unanimity and the obvious strength 
and sincerity of our collective opinion took him by sur- 
prise, for previously, before being confronted by the firm 
reality of Jinnah's decision, we had taken the view, in- 
formally and as individuals, that it would be undesirable 
for Mountbatten to lose his objective and almost judicial 
status. But now it is clear to us that Jinnah, by identi- 
fying the Pakistan Governor-Generalship with himself, has 
created a whollv new situation. 

When my turn came to speak I read out the note 1 had 
prepared. 1 was careful to confine myself to the publicity 
implications of the three courses considered. "ft has 
been a political commonplace", I wrote, "that with the 
transfer of power Pakistan would become the last outpost 
of British Imperialism and that the anti-British bias of 
Congress would quickly prevail. Congress invitations to 
His Excellency, Colville and Nye knock that criticism 
on the head. From the view-point of British prestige it 
is a tremendous thing that Congress at the moment of 
victory in its seventy years* struggle with the British 
should spontaneously invite Englishmen to stay on in this 

M.M.— 6 



"Such an invitation gels our relations with the new 
India off to a start good beyond all expectations. At the 
same time the suggestion that H.h. has sold out to the 
Congress is met by obvious evidence that Pakistan and 
Jinnah have got exactly what they asked for. In fact 
H.F.'s presence at the head of the new Indian State would 
naturally be interpreted the best guarantee that its rela- 
tions with Pakistan would be carried on in a friendly and 
constructive manner, and as a buffer against excessive 
Congress claims. 

*The argument that with Jinnah in his present mood 
and enjoying full powers and with H.h. simply as a con- 
stitutional Governor-General, H.K would not be able to 
exercise any substantial influence on Indo-Pakistan rela- 
tions is a major consideration, but not directly a publicity 
problem. While no doubt it would be a limiting tactor 
to H.E.'s usefulness, 1 think it would be widely realised 
that no one else would be able to do more, and, in view 
of his close association with Jinnah at this critical time, 
no other Governor-General would be likely to be in a 
position to do as much. The argument that a climb down 
is involved from Viceroy of all India to Governor-Gene- 
ral ot India less Pakistan cannot, I submit, be sustained 
nor should it be strongly stressed— <;Iimb down from what? 
The whole emphasis of H.E.'s mission here has been on 
the future on the beginning of a new chapter in our 
relations with Indians, and not on 'the last Viceroy'. 

"If H.F. were <o hand over to a successor on 15th 
August, he would obviously be leaving on the crest of the 
wave, but once it was appreciated that H.b. had been 
invited by Congress unconditionally and had turned down 
their invitation, I Relieve there would be a considerable 
volume of criticism, both immediate and long term, that 
he was leaving the job half done and making 'a quick 

Among the miscellaneous items, we considered whether 
a partitioned Jndia meant also a partitioned Kennel Club. 
This was only a test case, for the Military Secretary's 



office is being inundated with queries from various "All 
India" bodies as to what they should do next. 

viceroy's Housr:, new dpi, hi, Friday, 4th July, 1947 
Mountbatten has to-day diverted the crisis over the 
future of the Interim Government by calling on all the 
members — Congress and Moslem League alike — to resign, 
and then inviting them to carry on until the actual pass- 
ing of the Indian Independence Bill at Westminster. Be- 
hind this action, which plays for time and is not of course 
a final solution of the problem, lies a complicated and 
dangerous wrangle. Briefly, ever since the acceptance 
of the 3rd June Plan Mountbatten has been subjected to 
two conflicting pressures. On the Congress side it is 
largely a repetition with greater insistence of Patel's com- 
plaint, "You won't govern yourself, at least let us govern". 
To this Jinnah's reaction is that if any Moslem League 
Ministers are removed they will resign en bloc, making 
it clear that they are withdrawing from all co-operation 
and washing their hands of the whole Partition scheme. 
Mountbatten is well aware that any such action on their 
part would once again wreck the prospects of peace and 
of Pakistan. 

Nehru, tired and overwrought and subject to these in- 
creasing Congress demands to become master forthwith 
in his own house, has been cm the verge of resignation 
on this issue over the past week. Jinnah first of all re- 
jected outright any formula which involves the actual hand- 
ing in of portfolios by ihe Moslem League members as be- 
ing an insult to the League. When Mountbatten evolved 
a scheme and actually drafted a Press announcement to 
meet his susceptibilities under this heading, Jinnah changed 
his ground, saying that he would resist the scheme as 
illegal under the 1935 Act. This gave Mountbatten an 
unexpected opening, for on inquiry in London he found 
Xhat there was sufficient foundation in Jinnah's legal com- 
plaint to make it impossible for him to proceed with re- 



constitution of the Government in advance of the pass- 
ing of the Act. 

At the Staff Meeting to-day we argued out at great 
length the possibility and consequences of Mountbatten 
staying on beyond 15th August as Governor-General of 
the Dominion of India only. We have not as yet suc- 
ceeded in removing his grave misgivings. He fears the 
loss of objective status will be a crippling handicap to his 
usefulness and may well dissipate the good-will he has 
won from Hindu and Moslem alike. 

Mountbatten now wants to have authoritative advice 
from London from the King and Prime Minister down- 
wards before reaching a final decision. He also suspects 
that the Government may feel — not unjustifiably — that he 
has misled them and put them in a false position by over- 
selling the likelihood of a joint Governor-Generalship. 

So he has decided that Ismay should leave for London 
at once, officially to be available to the Government while 
the independence Bill passes through Parliament, but in 
addition to secure confidential guidance at the highest 
level as to whether he should stay on or come home. I 
am to go as well, and I will use the opportunity to make 
a parallel check on Press and other informed reactions 
to the new situation. 

London, Monday, 7 th July, 1947 
We left Palam in the Viceregal York on Saturday after- 
noon, touching down at Northolt by tea-time today. My 
whole vision of Indo-British travel has been foreshorten- 
ed by my sequence#of high speed and even higher priority 
flights over the past three years. England has never 
looked lovelier than when we Hew low over Beachy Head. 
The cliffs of Dover and Calais stood out so clearly and 
close together that from ten thousand feet they seemed 
to be part of the same mainland, the straits appearing as 
the entrance to some mighty river or grand harbour. The 
green of English fields from the air has a soft, civilised 



quality not to be found in the vivid dark hues of lands 
washed by monsoons. 

Ismay was in splendid form on this flight. He has the 
Roman virtue nf tvquinimitas. His bland bonhomie is a 
perfect foil to Mountbatten, with his more intense and 
uneven moods. Ismay had taken great pains over our 
itinerary, and so arranged that at our various landing- 
points — Karachi, Habbaniya, Malta— we landed in good 
time for dinner and left at a comfortable hour in the 
morning. He said the journey back to India with ihe 
Mountbattens in May had been an ordeal he would never 
undergo again. In an effort to beat the clock, all they 
had succeeded in doing was playing havoc with everyone's 

By six o'clock this evening Ismay was in close con- 
ference with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. 
The Prime Minister did not take long to reach the con- 
clusion that the new and difficult situation in no way 
lessened, but rather enhanced, the need for Mountbatten 
to stay on in India. 

London. Tuesday, 8th July, 1947 
After dinner yesterday Ismay attended a meeting at 10 
Downing Street which lasted beyond midnight. Although 
there were some doubts expressed about Mount batten's 
personal position arising from the change from, an arbitral 
to a partisan status, particularly in the event of disputes 
between the two Dominions. Ministers were generally in 
favour of Mountbatten accepting the Indian offer. Altlee, 
it seems, went so far as to say that Mountbatten could 
see this thing through, and no one else could do so. 
The Government were deeply impressed by the Moslem 
League's, support for the proposition which Jsmay was 
able to convey to them in writing from Liaqual. The 
position is, in fact, that both sides have now requested 
Mountbatten to remain on with one side. 

This morning the Prime Minister called in the following 
Opposition leaders: Salisbury, Macmillan, Butler, Samuel 



and Clem Davies. Tsmay put the problem before them. 
Lord Samuel was rather anxious to revive the idea which 
he had originally expressed to Mountbatten in my flat, 
of a Viceroy presiding over the two Governors-General. 
But the general sense of the meeting was that such a sug- 
gestion was now too late to put into practice, and in any 
case likely to be unacceptable to the Congress. The 
Liberals were whole-heartedly in favour of Mountbatten 
remaining as Governor-General of India. But while the 
Conservative leaders were personally in full accord with 
ihe proposal, they felt that they could not commit them- 
selves officially until they had had a chance to consult 
Churchill, who was down at Chartwell convalescing from 
a recent illness, and Lden, who was also unable to be 
present at the meeting. 

Attlee accordingly suggested to Tsmay that he should 
go down to Chartwell himself, which he did forthwith. 
Any expectations Jsmay may have had of a difficult in- 
terview with the great man were quickly dispelled. He 
did not think the position had been in any way altered 
by Jinnah's action, and dictated a message for Jsmay to 
send by cable to the Viceroy, the substance of which was 
that a constitutional Governor-General retained an un- 
limited right to receive information and to give advice, 
and that on this basis Mountbatten could give the new 
Government aid which he should not withhold. While 
leaving it with Mountbatten's conscience and judgement 
to decide when his usefulness was exhausted, Churchill 
stressed in particular the political value of his role in 
mitigating the conwnunal tension, preserving the interests 
of the Princes and strengthening the ties of sentiment 
between India and the rest of the Commonwealth. 

Ismay, much relieved, came back to London post-haste 
and told 'Churchill's Conservative colleagues of the inter- 
view and message which was relayed to Delhi immediate- 
ly. This decisive expression of opinion, combining as it 
did the great man's breadth of view and immediate grasp 



of essentials with his ability to relate his exact ideas to 
perfect logic, set everybody's mind at rest. 

With every day that passes the virtues of diplomacy 
by informal discussion are increasingly borne in on me. 
It has certainly been possible for Ismay to dispel doubts 
both from the view-point of Mountbatten in Delhi and 
of the Government and Opposition in London with a 
speed and certainty which no amount of long-distance 
letters, aides-memoire or telegrams could have done. 

London, hrhlay, 11th July, 1947 
A summons to Buckingham Palace and a further visit 
to 10 Downing Street have enabled Jsmay to complete 
the first and most important phase of his mission and to 
provide Mountbatten with a conclusive answer to the re- 
action of opinion here. 

I have also been busily engaged in collecting opinions, 
and have written to-day to Mountbatten giving him a 
resume of my many editorial interviews. 

"I have briefed everyone fully," I wrote, "on the situa- 
tion that has arisen, but without in the first instance put- 
ting forward any views of my own. 1 can report com- 
plete unanimity in urging the need for you to slay on 
and in stressing that the British Press reaction to your 
doing so will be favourable and sympathetic. Frank 
Owen said that if your prestige stood at ninety when you 
left in March, it had now risen to one hundred and 
ninety, and that any decision you lake, simply on the 
grounds that you had taken it, would be regarded as good 
and sufficient by the British public. Lord Layton said 
that in his view Jinnah's decision would be widely regard- 
ed as a selfish and ambitious act, and that it would in- 
volve a marking down here with the British Press of his 
reputation, which was at its peak during his visit to Eng- 
land in December last. Then he had made a very con- 
siderable impression. 

J 58 


habbaniya, Sunday, 20th July, 1947 
On our journey back we are taking with us Major 
Billy Short, who has a very great influence with the Sikhs. 
He was attached to the Cabinet Mission, and was at 
Baldev Singh's right hand last December. He will not be 
a member of the Viceroy's staff as such, but will be 
seconded to advise Jsmay, who has deep and well-found- 
ed forebodings about Sikh reactions in the Punjab. Short 
is a delightful companion, a man of wide human sym- 
pathies and of creative if slightly eccentric originality, for 
whom India seems to act both as a lure and as a release. 

During the flight, once again carefully timed to avoid 
all unnecessary inconvenience, Ismay has dictated to his 
indefatigable secretary, Betty Green, a personal progress 
report of admirable lucidity and judgement. While the 
first to admit Mountbatten's great personal triumph in 
securing the Leaders' endorsement of the 3rd June Plan 
and the sense of momentary elation it produced, he con- 
fessed he fell that we were "over Becher's Brook first 
time round", and not more than that. He referred to 
the confidence and courage of ignorance which enabled 
the Leaders to dismiss from their minds the immense 
•administrative problems they were creating. 

"The biggest crime and the biggest headache", he felt, 
was the partition of the Armed Forces. But he can take 
most of the credit for the master plan which has been 
evolved to achieve a smooth transition. I doubt whether 
anyone else could have begun to unscramble this egg. 
He can say with truth, "It is just possible that two really 
good armies will emerge from the prcKess. It is true 
that they will not* in sum total be equal to the single 
army out of which they have been fashioned." Provid- 
ed the Joint Defence Council can be kept in being to 
ensure that the training, equipment and administration 
of the two armies are on uniform lines and that they act 
in accordance with unified policy, he felt that the damage 
of dissection would be substantially reduced. 



He was able to report favourably on the present pro- 
gress achieved by various sub-committees dealing with the 
Partition of the manifold assets and liabilities. This had 
meant that the prospects of both the new Governments 
being able to function at least on a minimum subsistence 
scale on the 14th August "are now not nearly so bad 
as we expected". 

In his concluding paragraphs, however, he sees all the 
signs of danger ahead. *'l was worried when 1 was in 
London," he writes, "at the prevalence of the idea that 
everything was over bar the shouting. Personally I feel 
that we are nothing like out of the wood yet. There is 
so much explosive material lying about, and it remains 
to be seen whether it can be prevented from going off. I 
am for example extremely worried about the Sikhs. They 
imagine that they are going to get a far more favourable 
boundary than, so far as 1 can judge, the Commission 
can possibly award them. All possible precautions have 
been taken by dispatch to the areas of potential trouble 
of a joint India-Pakistan force under single command, 
but, even so, it may be a very unpleasant business. The 
truth of the matter is that both sides are in a panic, and 
people do sillier things when they are frightened than, 
they do under the stress of any other emotion." 

We arc returning to a major problem, in some ways 
bigger than the problem of getting agreement between the 
political parties, and that is how to fit the Indian States 
into the new picture. It is not generally realised that the 
300 millions in British India are governed by the Gover- 
nor-General in Council, whereas the 110 millions in the 
Indian States are governed by their own rulers, but in 
conformity with the overall directions of the King-Km- 
peror expressed through his Crown Representative, the 
Political Department and the Residents in each group of 
States. Co-ordination of the Government of these vast 
parts of India is achieved by the dodge of appointing one 
and the same man to be the Governor-General of India 
and the Crown Representative of the Indian States— and 



thai man is known as the Viceroy. After 15th August 
ihere will be no Viceroy, Paramountcy will be retroccded 
and each fndian Prince will become an autocratic indep- 
endent sovereign. Unless Mountbatten can get a work- 
able solution accepted by all before 15th August J tremble 
to think of the chaos that will supervene throughout the 



vki:roy\s iioi:si. ( nhw delhi, Tuesday, 22nd July, 1947 
Wh arrivi i) hack at Palam this afternoon after a smooth 
but none-the-less exhausting Uight. No one has yet suc- 
ceeded in making six thousand miles by air a refreshing 
experience, and after the hectic tempo of events in Lon- 
don we emerged fairly limp to take our part in the vital 
last lap of the political transfer. 

Jn our absence one crisis — and from the reports we 
received from Mountbatten when we were in London the 
severest of all so far in its onset and immediate impli- 
cations-has been officially disposed of, although tension 
is still acute. Mountbatten has reconstituted the Interim 
Government so that it now amounts in effect to two 
Provisional Administrations, one for India and one for 
Pakistan, each dealing with its own business and consult- 
ing the other only^n matters of common concern. The 
advantage of the plan was that it did not involve any 
resignation of the Moslem League members. 

The order issued last Saturday, some twenty-four hours 
after the Royal Assent to the Indian Independence Act, 
spoke of the Governor-General approving kt the redistri- 
bution of portfolios". Nehru and Patcl were with great 
difficulty reconciled to the new formula. As for Jinnah, 



when Mountbatten presented the proposals to him he said, 
yet again, that he would give them his careful attention. 
But this time Mountbatten was for once in a position to 
tell him that his views and advice were not required, as 
he intended on his own initiative and responsibility to 
issue an order bringing the new arrangements into force 

With characteristic ingenuity, Mountbatten has prepar- 
ed for his Staff and all the Ministers and officials concern - 
ed in the partition arrangements a small tear-off calendar 
giving the day of the month, and under it in bold type 
"X Days left to prepare for the Transfer oi Power" until 
D Day itself is reached. The Partition Council, how- 
ever, has already taken the hint, functioning smoothly 
and keeping up to schedule. 

Mountbatten is now in the thick of the vStatcs problem. 
As with his diplomacy prior to the 3rd June Plan, he 
took (he calculated risk, and is personally sponsoring the 
Instrument of Accession and undertaking to get all the 
Princes into this particular bag, while V. P. sold the pro- 
ject to Congress. He embarked with the assurance oi 
Patel's decisive support given in a most statesman-like 
speech inaugurating the new States Department the day 
we left for London. The most intractable problem, how- 
ever, is Hyderabad, which will undoubtedly call for spe- 
cial action. Mountbatten says he is ready to go there 
at short notice, and feels that the only chance of secur- 
ing a reasonable settlement is to see the Nizam person- 

viceroy's housi , new Dfci.HT, Thursday, 24th July, 1947 
\ spent most of the day dealing with the release of the 
important Partition Council statement, which announces 
the setting up of a Boundary Force in the Punjab Parti- 
tion areas. This special military command will cover 
twelve of the fourteen districts which one or other party 
claims to be "disputed" and will be Jed by Major-Gene- 



ral "Pete" Rees, who until now has been in command 
of the 4th Indian Division. 

The nucleus of the new force will in fact be provided 
by this Division, and altogether it will consist of some 
fifty thousand officers and men, mainly composed of mix- 
ed units not yet partitioned and containing a high pro- 
portion of British officers. It is probably the largest 
military force ever collected in any one area of a country 
for the maintenance of law and order in peace-time. It 
is certainly the greatest physical preparation that can be 
made from available resources against a danger of un- 
known dimensions, and it represents a considerable gamble 
on communal harmony prevailing over the rest of the 
sub-continent. Rees is to have two high-ranking mili- 
tary advisers — a Sikh and a Moslem- from the Indian 
and Pakistan Armies. After 15th August he will have 
operational control of the forces of both Dominions in 
the area, and, through the Supreme Commander and Joint 
Defence Council, will be responsible to both Govern- 

Mountbatten, who at last week's Partition Council was 
given carte blanche to draft the whole statement, has also 
succeeded in injecting into it a solemn guarantee of civil 
rights for minorities and former political opponents in 
both the future Dominions and a clear declaration that 
violence will not be tolerated on either side, particularly 
in the areas affected by the Boundary Commission 
Awards. He is greatly excited over this coup, but frank- 
ly does not believe that either Party really knew what 
it was signing. He feels, however, that this part of the 
statement is potentially more important than the Gandhi- 
Jinnah Appeal last ^Xpril, and may well become a "char- 
ter of liberty" for all communities. 

Perhaps the most substantial phrase of all is the joint 
pledge to abide by the Boundary Commission's award, 
whatever form it may take. Taken as a whole, the state- 
ment is a blue-print on the grand scale, and a consider- 
able moral victory for Mount batten's diplomacy. 



viceroy's house, new delhi, Friday, 25th July, 1947 
To-day Mountbatten had his first and last meeting with 
the Princes. For never again will they be addressed in 
full session by a Viceroy and Crown Representative. This 
was no formal hail and farewell, bui a political occasion 
of the first order. The Princes are divided and uncer- 
tain, .baffled by the pace of events. Mountbatten for his 
part had no detailed directives from London to support 
him. The brief references to the States both in the 3rd 
June and Cabinet Mission Plans only serve to underline 
that the essential transfer of power is between Britain 
and British India. 

He used "every weapon in his armoury of persuasion, 
making it clear at the outset that in the proposed Instru- 
ment of Accession, which V. P. Menon, had devised, they 
were being provided with a political offer from the Con- 
gress which was not likely to be repeated. Indeed, it 
was not even a firm offer as yet, and the main chance 
of it being one rested on his capacity to provide Patel 
with "a full basket" of acceptance. He reminded them 
that after the 15th August he would no longer be in a 
position to mediate on their behalf as Crown Representa- 
tive, and warned those Princes who were hoping to build 
up their own store of arms that the weapons they would 
be likely to get would in any case be obsolete. One 
point in particular, made with perfect timing and empha- 
sis, did not fail to find its mark with Their Highnesses. 
If, he said, the Instrument of Accession was accepted, 
he had good reason to think that Patel and the Congress 
would not interfere with their receiving honours and titles 
from the King under Dominion Status, which he knew 
meant much to them as exponents of the monarchical 
order.* In this connection it has undoubtedly been a 
source of strength in his relations with the Princes that 

* Lord Mountbatten himself invested the Maharajas of Jaipur 
and Bikancr with the Grand Cross of the Star of India (G.C.S.I.) 
after the transfer of t power. 



Mountbatten has been able to speak not simply as Crown 
Representative, but as a cousin of the King.. For these 
hereditary rulers the blood Royal carries its own author- 
ity. The core of his message this afternoon was con- 
tained in the cogent phrase. "You cannot run away 
from the Dominion Government which is your neighbour 
any more than you can run away from the subjects for 
whose welfare you are responsible". 

I cannot imagine, however, a more difficult assembly 
for any man to have to address than this one. Here was, 
in fact, an audience of hereditary shepherds in the un- 
enviable position of lost sheep. Once again Mount- 
batten's morale-raising talent was seen to full advantage. 
For he somehow managed to infect them with his own 
spontaneous enthusiasm and powers of decision. In the 
process what began as an occasion of high seriousness 
soon developed into one of flippancy and banter, as 
Mountbatten began to deal with the mass of questions 
cogent and obtuse which were thrown at him. 

Thus a certain Maharaja, absent from his State and 
from India at this critical moment, did not seem to ap- 
preciate the importance either of coming himself to the 
meeting or even of briefing his Dewan. For the Dewan 
had been sent no instructions whatever. "Surely", 
Mountbatten asked, "you must know your Ruler's mind, 
and can take a decision on his behalf?" "I do not know 
my Ruler's mind," the hapless Dewan replied, "and I 
cannot get a reply by cable." Mountbatten thereupon 
picked up a large round glass paper-weight which hap- 
pened to be on the rostrum in front of him. ,4 I will look 
into my crystal," he said, "and give you an answer." 
There followed ten seconds of dramatic pause when you 
could have heard a princely pin drop. "His Highness," 
Mountbatten solemnly announced, "asks you to sign the 
Instrument of Accession." 

So accurately had he gauged the sentiment of this parti- 
cular audience that everyone broke out into delighted 



laughter at this; sally, which was clearly regarded as neat- 
ly combining the rebuke courteous with the advice timely. 
For on the whole it was probably wise to strike the humo- 
rous note as being the best method of penetrating what 
seemed to be quite a high proportion of thick skulls. 

I returned to Viceroy's House and had a chat with 
Mountbatten, who had changed with remarkable speed 
from his "Number Tens" into a lounge suit. I was able 
to report that his whole performance, which was techni- 
cally and tactically hardly less remarkable than the Press 
Conference, had made a very deep impression on all 
sides. I said it was clear that we would have to pro- 
duce for the Press a sub-edited edition of the full con- 
fidential speech, and J proposed to go straight round and 
work on this with V.P. Whatever V.P. and I produc- 
ed, he said, would satisfy him. and he did not want to 
see the text again. He felt that the questions had been 
incredibly unrealistic, and that very few of the Princes 
or their representatives seemed to have any idea of what 
was going on around them. Unless they accepted the In- 
strument thev would be finished. 

Mountbatten can regard the whole occasion as yet an- 
other personal tour de force. The Princes, Jeaderless, 
riven with dynastic and political dissensions, tried des- 
perately to hide behind opportunism and indecision, but 
events were moving much too fast and on too large a 
scale to allow of any such halting tactics. Whatever the 
merits of earlier policies, the situation which Mountbat- 
ten as the last Crown Representative has to meet is such 
that only through some comprehensive and substantial 
act of mediatisation can the Princely order in India hope 
to avoid being swept away as a feudal anachronism. By 
a far-seeing act of statesmanship he has offered them the 
chance of survival, admittedly out of the main stream 
of Indian power politics, but with their basic personal 
prerogatives and succession rights secured. The times are 
out of joint for the Princes. This is all now that any of 
them can expect or, indeed, that most of them want. 



viceroy's Housr, nlw df.lhi, Saturday, 26th July, 1947 
I had an interesting talk with George Abel! about the 
dinner-party Their Excellencies gave last night to the 
Jinnahs. It was quite a small and informal affair, com- 
prising only House guests and some of Mountbatten's 
staff. Jinnah completely monopolised the conversation by 
cracking a series of very lengthy and generally unfunny 
jokes, When Mountbatten tried to even out the con- 
versation by talking to the guests next to him and leav- 
ing Jinnah to tell one of his stories to Lady Mountbatten, 
Jinnah broke off and interrupted across the table with, 
44 1 think Mountbatten would like to hear this one." Jt 
is customary for the Viceroy, representing the King, to 
precede his guests to and from the dining-room, but im- 
mediately this dinner was over the Jinnahs got up at the 
same time as Their Excellencies and walked out with them. 

viceroy's house, new deli/1, Sunday, 27th July, 1947 
Once again Mountbatten sent for me while he was im- 
mersed in a cold bath. He told me what is now an 
amusing but easily could have been a very different story. 
He was thrashing out with Lord Killcarn, whom he had 
invited up from Singapore, the possibility of him accept- 
ing the Governorship of East Bengal, as Jinnah is very 
anxious to have a high-calibre British administrator act- 
ing for him in this outpost of Pakistan. They were dis- 
cussing terms of service, and Killearn asked whether there 
was any possibility of Darjeeling being included in the 
Province, and if not whether some special arrangements 
could be made for him to stay at one of the Assam Hill 
stations, such as Shillong, in the very hot weather. He 
said he was now sixty-six, had. some young children and 
would not be able to survive the heat of Dacca the capital. 
Moreover, he understood the proposed residence of the 
Governor in Dacca was in a quite derelict condition. 
Mountbatten promised to look into the whole matter. 

It so happened that his next inteiview was with Bardo- 
loi, Prime Minister of Assam. After dealing with a 



number of routine questions on Assam which he was 
able to dispatch in a few minutes, he asked about Dacca. 
Was there any high ground there? Bardoloi said there 
was nothing higher than eleven hundred feet in the whole 
area. Mount batten then asked about Darjeeling and 
which way the Award was likely to send it — into Paki- 
stan or India? Bardoloi replied that it was almost cer- 
tain to remain in India. Mountbatten then raised ques- 
tions about Shillong and the Hill Tracts. 

The purpose of these inquiries was completely mis- 
understood by Bardoloi, who rushed over to Gandhi in 
a stale of great alarm, complaining that there was some 
major intrigue afoot to incorporate Darjeeling, Shillong 
and the Hill Tracts into Pakistan. Gandhi for his part 
said that while he did not put it past the British to or- 
ganise a double-cross of this nature, he could not believe 
that Mountbatten himself would be a party to it. Bar- 
doloi then saw Patel, who worked himself up into a state 
of great distress about it all. The result was that V. P. 
rushed up to Mountbalten's bedroom this morning full 
of alarm. 

Mountbatten was of course able to explain the whole 
thing, and hopes in the next day or so to be able to 
laugh it off with the Congress leaders, but he regards 
the incident as revealing, and points out that if he had 
not established close relations with V.P. and if V.P. had 
not felt himself abie to go straight to his bedroom this 
morning, this petty misunderstanding could easily have 
developed into a major crisis, and may still involve a con- 
siderable expenditure of lime and effort to explain away 
to the satisfaction of all. 

viceroy's house, ni w delhi, Monday, 28th July, J947 
There was a colourful reception at Viceroyls House 
to-night in honour of over fifty Ruling Princes and a 
hundred of the States Representatives. The splendour of 
it only seemed to strengthen the sense of unreality and 
pathos surrounding the Princely order at this lime. When 



unity of purpose was of overwhelming importance for 
them, they were to be seen uneasy and obsessed with 
their own problems of precedence, each anxiously watch- 
ing what the other was doing — and, as a Dewan remark- 
ed of one of them, "wandering about like a letter with- 
out a stamp". 

Those of Their Highnesses who had not already signi- 
fied their intention of signing the Instrument of Acces- 
sion were duly shepherded by the A.D.CYs one by one 
for a friendly talk with Mountbatten. He in his turn 
passed them on in the full view of the company to V.P., 
who conducted them across the room to see Patel. There 
were Maharajas three deep in a semi-circle watching this 

One veteran Prince was heard to remark, "Who's H.F. 
getting to work on now?" Craning forward to see, he 
added with relish, "There's no need for him to work cm 
me. I'm signing to-morrow!" Fay' overheard the fol- 
lowing exchange between an old Prince and a young one. 
The old Prince asked, "How are things in your State?" 
The young Prince replied, "We have been having trouble 
in one place (which he named), but we have reached a 
settlement now. 1 ' "We have trouble everywhere," the 
old Prince exclaimed, "but I don't let it reach the stage 
of a settlement." 


Wednesday, 30th July, 1947 
Mountbatten left at first light this morning for Calcutta, 
where he is to make a rapid last-minute survey of the 
critical situation 4here. 

During the brief lull provided by his absence 1 have 
to-day had my long-promised interview with Gandhi, ar- 
riving at midday for an appointment at his home among 
the Untouchables in the Bhangi Colony. 

1 found him on a platform raised a few inches off the 
ground and reposing on some cushions with a very large 
bolster at his back. During our conversation two secrc- 



taries came in silently, and behaved as well-trained 
acolytes are expected to do. 

As 1 entered Gandhi said smilingly, "You will not ex- 
pect me to get up." I was offered a chair, but 1 chose 
— almost subconsciously -to sit down cross-legged in front 
of him. I began by recalling that the last time I had 
the privilege of meeting him was seventeen years ago, 
when I was a boy at Westminster School. He had come 
very unexpectedly to speak to us, and we had all been 
deeply impressed by the event. He said he half -remem- 
bered the occasion, and added that he had been invited 
by some very kind Canon. I recalled that two days after- 
wards Lord Halifax had also come to the School to ad- 
dress us, and that in that year of the Irwin-Gandhi Pact 
the abiding memory was of the cordial terms in which 
each had spoken of the other. Both had left on our 
schoolboy minds the impression that here was the essen- 
tial human good-will from which a genuine agrcemenl 
could spring. "1 was very close to Lord Halifax in those 
days," Gandhi said almost wistfully; "not that 1 am not 
so now." 

I said that 1 had just come back from London, where 
I had witnessed the Indian Independence Bill pass through 
both Houses of Parliament. I took the occasion to pre- 
sent Gandhi with three copies of the Hansards of those 
Debates — a gesture that seemed to please him — and drew 
particular attention to Lord Samuel's tribute to him in 
the Lords. He said he had noticed it, and that it was 
very kind of him to have made these remarks. He had 
once had some correspondence with Lord Samuel, and 
in the argument Lord Samuel had been magnanimous 
enough to admit himself in the wrong. That, Gandhi 
observed, was a very good sign in a man. 

Turning to the general situation arising from 'the Act, 
he said that with the casting off of British domination the 
most tremendous responsibility had been thrown upon the 
Congress leaders, who had been brought up on* only a 


few lakhs of rupees, and now had the vast resources of 
a State at their disposal. Both Governments needed time, 
a breathing space in which to establish themselves. He 
regarded Partition as an evil, but was ready to admit that 
out of evil could come good, if only the two Govern- 
ments would play fair with each other. I said that it 
was not simply the future of India that was at stake, but 
that of the whole of Asia. The countries of South-east 
Asia in particular were looking to India, and the Chinese 
civil war only enhanced India's potential influence. He 
agreed emphatically. "The whole world", he said, "is 
looking to us. India is under the microscope." 

When f turned to my particular business and interest 
here — the Press— I mentioned the need for Indian papers 
to begin taking a world view, and for Indian journalists 
to gain new experience in overseas assignments. He 
agreed that the need existed, but this particular conten- 
tion inspired him to take up a favourite theme of his. 
"There is", he said, "a dangerous tendency for Indians 
to look to others for salvation. We must keep our self- 
respect and help ourselves. Look at the case of medi- 
cine and doctors. I do not know of a single Englishman 
who has come to India for treatment, but one is always 
hearing of Indians going abroad to be treated by this 01 
that famous European surgeon. It is not right that India 
should only he a place for Indians to die in. There are 
many splendid surgeons, including Dr. Ansari. Admitt- 
edly", he added mischievously, 4 Dr. Ansari is concern- 
ed primarily with rejuvenation and offering one the chance 
of becoming thirty again and having a harem!" 

The core of rys argument was that with Tndia now 
having won her political freedom it was the duty of In- 
dians to show their faith and pride in their country not 
only by words but also by deeds. They had to realise 
that the amenities and assets which they had assumed 
were the monopolies of the outside world were not in- 
evitably so at all. This was the real challenge of Indian 



viceroy's house, new DELHI. Friday, 1st August, 1947 
I was given an account of to-day's luncheon at Vice- 
roy's House to several of the leading Princes. After 
paying their bread-and-butler respects to Their Excel- 
lencies, they ran the gauntlet of A.D.C.'s, who helped to 
form virtual "Aye" and tk No" lobbies on their attitude 
to Accession. Patiala and Bikaner entered into the spirit 
of the thing by passing through the "No" lobby and then 
roaring with laughter. 

Apart from Hyderabad and Kashmir, which present 
special problems, Mountbattcn's advice is having a de- 
cisive effect, and only two or three of the senior Princes 
seem to consider there is any advantage or merit in hold- 
ing out against Accession. Unfortunately, Mountbatten's 
friend Bhopal is the leader of this group, which includes 
his close and important neighbour, the Maharaja of 
Indore. As the ablest Moslem Prince, I would guess 
he is not averse lo playing an important role in the higher 
politics of Pakistan. He has lor some time been one 
of Jinnah's closest advisers. Unhappily for him, his 
State is predominantly Hindu and in the heart of Indian 

The burden of work falling upon Mountbatten and his 
staff seems, if anything, to increase as each day brings us 
nearer to the transfer of power. I have enough Public 
Relations and Press problems calling for immediate deci- 
sion and implementation to keep a whole Central Office 
of Information busy. Very careful thought has to be 
given to the planning of the elaborate ceremonial in 
Karachi and Delhi. Jinnah has raised difficulties about 
the degree of precedence to be accorded to Mountbatten 
in Karachi on 13th August. ft has been politely but 
none-the-less firmly made clear to him that Hjs Excel- 
lency's visit will be in hi* capacity as Viceroy, and any 
proposal that he should sit below Jinnah at the special 
meeting of the Legislative Assembly is therefore out of the 



My tasks include submission of drafts for the King's 
messages to the two new Dominions, and assistance in 
polishing the texts of Mountbatten's formal Addresses 
to the two Legislative Assemblies, which all involve deli- 
cate problems of emphasis. Mountbatten would prefer 
to speak without any notes, but we have all prevailed 
upon him to admit* somewhat grudgingly, that this would 
be inappropriate on such historic and formal occasions, 
with the world's Press and radio picking up every word. 

vkkroy's hoi isi.. ni.w on. rn, Tuesday, 5th August, 1947 
Following to-day's Partition Council and Joint Defence 
Council meetings, Mountbatten was in secret conclave with 
Patel, Jinnah and I iaquat, having decided to introduce 
them to an officer of the now depleted Punjab Criminal 
Investigation Department seni down by Jenkins to give 
him a verbal report. This officer told of various state- 
ments made by instigators of disturbances arrested after 
incidents. These interrogations and intelligence from other 
sources implicated the Sikh leaders in a number of sabo- 
tage plans, including a plot to assassinate Jinnah during 
the State drive at the Independence celebrations in Kar- 
achi next week. Jinnah and Liaquat immediately de- 
manded the arrest of Tara Singh and other Sikh leaders. 
Patel, however, was strongly opposed to this course, argu- 
ing that it would only precipitate a crisis already beyond 

Mountbatten said he was prepared to support the ar- 
rests, but only if the authorities on the spot felt that this 
would be a wise step. He has therefore written off to 
Jenkins to consider with Trivedi and Mudie,* the Gover- 
nors designate of ^he East and West Pun jabs, as a matter 
of urgency the desirability of arresting Tara Singh and 
his more hot-headed colleagues shortly before the 15th 

* Sir Francis Mudie, Governor of Sind until the transfer of 
power, subsequently accepted an invitation from Mr. Jinnah 
to serve as the first Governor of West Punjab. 



Mountbatten has a very high opinion of Jenkins, who 
has held the fort in the Punjab under conditions of intoler- 
able strain and slander. No man could have done more 
to preserve the last vestiges of order in the distracted 
Province. He deserves, but is far from receiving, the 
gratitude of both sides for his unremitting labours. 

viceroy's jioi'si:, niwdj lhi. Thursday, 7th August, 1947 
We have our lighter moments. The Minutes of the 
sixty-eighth Viceroy's Staff Meeting held this evening be- 
gin as follows: Item i. Astrology. The Viceroy said that 
he had just seen Mr. Mangaldas Pakwasa, the Governor 
Designate of the Central Provinces, and suggested that 
he should eo down on the 13th rather than the 14th 
August to start taking over from Sir Frederick Bourne, 
thus enabling Bourne to leave to become Governor of 
Fast Bengal by the 15th. Mr. Mangaldas Pakwasa had 
said that this was out of the question on astrological 
grounds. The Viceroy pointed out that there was a com- 
plete lack on his staff of high-level advisers on astrology. 
This would be remedied forthwith. "H.F. the Viceroy 
appointed Press Attache to the additional and honorary 
post of Astrologer to the Governor-General." 

Following the Staff Meeting I met the cause of my astro- 
logical "appointment", Mangaldas Pakwasa, at a small 
lunch-party given by Vallabhbhai Patcl, to which Fay and 
I were invited. The occasion was informal. In addi- 
tion to Eakwasa and ourselves, there was only one other 
guest, aW American visitor, Mr. Dall. Shankar, Patcl's 
Private Secretary, who was a contemporary of mine at 
Oxford, and Maniben, the Sardar's devoted, one might 
almost say, dedicated, daughter, brought the lunch-party 
up to seven. Patel's home is nearly next door to Nehru\s 
and is, if anything, smaller and even less pretentious than 
the Prime Minister's residence. 

It is a commonplace to draw the political contrast be- 
tween Nehru and Patel, who after the transfer of power 
are likely to provide India with a virtual duumvirate; but 


the variations in personality and appearance are hardly 
less striking. Dressed in his dhoti, Patel conjures up the 
vision of a Roman Emperor in his toga. There are, in 
fact, Roman qualities about this man — administrative 
talent, the capacity to take and sustain strong decisions, 
and a certain serenity which invariably accompanies real 
strength of character. 

He lacks Nehru's world reputation and world outlook, 
and he has deliberately confined himself to the tasks that 
involve surveillance of domestic politics. Here his powers 
and responsibilities are as wide as they well can be; they 
include control over all Government Information, Internal 
Security, the Police and, last but not least, the vital pro- 
blem of relations with the Indian States. The comple- 
tion of his Accession policy should bring into the Indian 
Dominion more citizens than will be lost to it through 
the creation of Pakistan, for (excluding the twenty mil- 
lions in Hyderabad and Kashmir) there are some ninety 
million States* subjects involved, which is considerably 
more than the population of Pakistan: he also holds in 
his hands nearly all Congress patronage. This is a for- 
midable concentration of personal power under any 
regime. In spile of all these preoccupations, Patel has 
a shrewd grasp of India's strategic position in the world 
at large. 

Off duty, as he was to-day, he is indeed the embodi- 
ment of the gentle Hindu, full of benevolence and smiles. 
He was interested to hear my first-hand account of the 
passing of the Independence Bill in London, anP in the 
course of conversation the general subject of speech- 
making cropped up. He and Maniben laughed when I 
asked whether he enjoyed making speeches, Maniben re- 
minding me that her father was a great orator in Gujerati. 

Throughout most of the meal Maniben, who is on the 
inside of all the Sardar's official and lop-secret activities, 
remained the silent acolyte. Dressed in the austere sim- 
plicity of her Khadi sari, and wearing at her waist a giant 
bunch of keys, she gave the impression of an efficient 



and wholly absorbed comptroller of the domestic house- 

Nearly all the Indian leaders are surrounded by wo- 
men members of their family, whether as wives, sisters 
or daughters, who exercise an extremely powerful influ- 
ence on their careers. J had come out to India under 
the naive impression that Indian women were complete- 
ly submerged and had no say or interest in matters of 
State. This is certainly not the case at the summit of 
affairs. Miss Fatima Jinnah, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pan- 
dit, Begum Liaquat Ali Khan and Mrs. Kripalani are 
formidable personalities whose ambitions and interests 
measure up to those of their respective menfolk. Not all 
of them would be content to remain so quietly in the 
background as Maniben, but it is doubtful whether the 
influence of any of them in their respective households 
exceeds hers with her father. 

Moreover, Lady Mountbatten has. 1 know, been deep- 
ly impressed by her contacts with Indian women in the 
whole field of social service. Not only are their capa- 
bilities outstanding, but they are casting off the shackles 
of subordinate status. An important facet of Indian In- 
dependence is the emancipation of Indian women. Lady 
Mountbatten\s leadership at this time is giving a great 
fillip to this liberating process. 

viceroy's housi". Ntw Dhun, Friday, 8th August, 1947 
Mountbatten has had several requests to broadcast to 
America, and even one proposal that he should hold 
everything to visit the U.S.A. as the star guest at a big 
Press-sponsored convention! In view of the tremendous 
pressure upon his time and energies, it has been necessary 
automatically to turn down all requests, but on my ad- 
vice he has agreed to speak in a special programme whicn 
is being broadcast throughout the United States to cele- 
brate the second anniversary of V.J. day, and will in- 
clude the recorded voices of the leaders of nearly all the 
United Nations. Although he will be on the air for only 



three minutes, 1 feel this presents a splendid opportunity 
to drive home the double meaning of the 15th August. 
He asked me to prepare him a draft, which he has sub- 
stantially accepted. 

After approving the elaborate arrangements for him to 
broadcast a recording ol his message from his study, his 
words were beamed from All India Radio via the B.B.C. 
to America for actual transmission on the 15th. "Two 
years ago to-day", he declared, "I had just returned from 
the Potsdam Conference, and was in the Prime Minister's 
room in 10 Downing Street, when the news of the Jap- 
anese surrender came through. Heie, as I speak to you 
to-night in Delhi, we are celebrating an event no less 
momentous for the future ot the world India's Inde- 
pendence Day. Jn the Atlantic Charter, we, the British 
and Americans, dedicated ourselves to champion the sell- 
determination of peoples and the independence of nations. 
Bitter experience has taught us that it is olten easier to 
win a war than to achieve a war aim; so let us remember 
August 15th— V.J. Day not only as the celebration of 
a victory, but also as the fulfilment of a pledge." 

via roy's houm , nj w on in, Saturday, 9th August, 1947 
At our Staff Meeting to-day we had a full discussion 
on the Punjab crisis. Over and above reports from Jen- 
kins of a most serious situation in the boundary area, and 
urgent requests from him for more army, air and police 
reinforcements, Mountbatten was confronted with a Pub- 
lic Relations problem of some magnitude which had a 
direct bearing on the maintenance of morale and order. 

It is rumoured ftiat RadcliHe will be ready by this even- 
ing to hand over the Award of the Punjab Boundary Com- 
mission to the Viceroy, hollowing the expected but none- 
theless complete failure of his Hindu and Moslem col- 
leagues to reach any semblance of agreement, Radcliffe, 
under the terms of reference, has had only to consult 
himself. Responsibility for publication, however, rests 
with the Viceroy. Mountbatten from the outset had given 



his staff the most explicit directions that they were to 
have no contact whatever with Radcliffe while he was 
engaged on his difficult and delicate arbitral task and has 
himself kept clear of him after the first welcome. We 
had accordingly no firm knowledge how far or by what 
route he had proceeded. 

Various points of view about publication were put for- 
ward. On administrative grounds it was argued that ear- 
liest possible announcement would be of help to Jenkins 
and would enable last-minute troop movements to be made 
into the affected areas in advance of the transfer of power. 
Alternatively, it was suggested that in so far as the Award 
would in any case be bound to touch off trouble, the best 
date to release it would be on the 14th August. Mount- 
batten said that if he could exercise some discretion in 
the matter he would much prefer to postpone its appear- 
ance until after the independence Day celebrations, feel- 
ing that the problem of its timing was really one of psy- 
chology, and that the controversy and grief that it was 
bound to arouse on both sides should not be allowed to 
mar Independence Day itself. 

With this view I wholly concur, and would go further, 
and say that for the Radclitfc Award to precede or co- 
incide with Independence Day would be to risk destroy- 
ing at one stroke the whole symbolic significance of free- 
dom to Hindu, Moslem and Sikh alike. The Indian's 
facility for friendship can be so easily frustrated, his ex- 
pectations and environment alike make the margin be- 
tween happiness and mourning dangerously narrow. The 
condition of his joy is that it should be unconfined, and 
that he should have a temporary reprieve from his eternal 
fears. , 

No final decision was taken at our meeting to-day, and 
Abell was instructed further to discuss the timing pro- 
blem with Jenkins. To underline the independent status 
of the commission, Mountbatten decided that the an- 
nouncement when it was made should not be in the form 



of a communique from Viceroy's House, but should be 
published as a Gazette Extraordinary. 

Jenkins has firmly rejected any suggestion that the Sikh 
leaders should be arrested before 15th August. He has 
advised Mountbatten that he thoroughly discussed the 
suggestion with Mudie and Trivedi, and they were all 
unanimous in recommending that such arrests would be 
more likely to endanger than improve the present pre- 
carious situation. All three had therefore decided that 
no arrests should be made. Mountbatten feels that as 
he has arranged to drive with Jinnah in the State pro- 
cession, which is the occasion mentioned for the possible 
attempt on Jinnah's life, he can accept their decision with- 
out personal reproach. 

vi< kroy's house, ni.w dm, hi. Tuesday, J2th August, 1947 
Three days have passed since the first warning, and the 
Award is still not readv. At this afternoon's Staff Meet- 
ing — our seventieth and probably the last — Mountbatten 
agreed, in view of the uncertainty and our impending de- 
parture for Karachi, that John Christie and 1 should call 
on Radcliffe immediately to find out when we might ex- 
pect the Awards to be in the Viceroy's hands. 

For the duration of his stay in Delhi Radcliffe was given 
the Comptroller's House on the Viceregal estate, where he 
could work in isolation. Christie and 1, hurrying round 
at very short notice, arrived to find that he was changing 
for dinner. When he appeared on the scene it was clear 
that our interview would not be an easy one, and that he 
was just as much alive to the proprieties of the situation 
as we were. He explained that both the Punjab and Ben- 
gal Awards were complete and ready, but that the Sylhct 
Award was not. 

Jt seemed, therefore, that unless Mountbatten was to 
make a major issue of the matter, it would be physically 
very difficult for all three Awards to come into his pos- 
session before his return to Delhi on the evening of 14th 
August, or for the texts to be printed and available before 



the 16th— Independence Day itself being a national holi- 
day. We returned at once to Viceroy's House and advised 
Mountbatten of the position, who was greatly relieved to 
have this ready-made solution at his disposal. 




Wednesday, J 3th August, 1947 
Moiinthatti n llm 10R Karachi this morning to perform 
his last official duty as Viceroy of a united British India. 
This is, appropriately enough, to convey His Majesty's and 
his own greetings to the new Dominion of Pakistan on the 
eve of its inception. As we stepped off the aircraft. Their 
Excellencies were greeted by Hidiyatullah, the benign Gov- 
ernor-elect of Sind. There was also the usual bevy of 
photographers. As they drove off to Government House, 
Colonel Birnie, Jinnah's Military Secretary, told Mount- 
batten that he had been given information of a plot to 
throw a bomb at Jinnah during to-morrow's .State proces- 
sion, and that there had been discussions as to whether 
to cancel the drive or alter the route. Jinnah, however, 
had taken the view that if Mountbatten was ready to go 
through with the drive, then so was he. Mountbatten at 
once agreed that there should be no change of arrange- 

Jinnah and Miss Jinnah were awaiting the Mountbattens 
in the entrance hall, which had been decked up to look 
just like a Hollywood film-set, and all four were subjected 
to takings and re-takings under the dazzling light and sizz- 
ling heat of the arc-lamps. 1 made contact with Colonel 
Malik, the Government Information officer, at the Palace 
Hotel, and met some of the Foreign correspondents, who 
were rather critical of the Karachi proceedings to date. 



Sonic argued that Mountbatten had been insulted by Jinnah 
not being ai the airfield to meet him, but I at once ex- 
plained that J was sure Mountbatten did not consider that 
there had been any lack of courtesy or breach of etiquette 
involved. At yesterday's Constituent Assembly there had 
been, they said, an atmosphere of complete subservience, 
with everyone vying to outdo everyone else in verbal pros- 
tration before the Quaid-e-Azam. 

In answer to my explicit inquiries, Malik gave me clearly 
to understand that Jinnah was not proposing to make any 
set speech for publication at to-night's banquet, and I ad- 
vised Mountbatten accordingly. Imagine my surprise 
when, towards the end of the banquet, before all the as- 
sembled notabilities, comprising not only the Pakistan elite 
but a far from negligible nucleus of a Diplomatic Corps, 
Jinnah arose, adjusted his monocle and began reading with 
deliberate and somewhat laboured emphasis from a set 
script. The speech turned out to be one of considerable 
political significance, in particular for its cordial references 
to the new Dominion's future relationship with Britain 
and to Mountbatten's contribution to the creation of Paki- 

If Mountbatten felt any dismay at being caught in this 
oratorical ambush he certainly did not show it, and by a 
fine feat of improvisation gave the impression of being 
even more word perfect than the Quaid-e-Azam with his 
notes. For ten minutes the appropriate phrases and 
thoughts flowed from him in smooth sequence. He is a 
born raconteur, and his informal but quick-firing eloquence 
is ideally adapted to after-dinner speech-making. 

This was not tflfe only hazard triumphantly surmounted 
lo-night. About a quarter of an hour before we were all 
due to lake our places at dinner, young Lieutenant Ahsan, 
whose first day it was as A.D.C. to Jinnah, following his 
transfer from Viceroy's House, discovered that three dis- 
tinguished guests high up on the table plan had failed to 
arrive. Bill Birnie and the wretched A.D.C.'s were thus 
left with the decision whether to leave gaps in high places 



or undertake the revision of the seating plan throughout. 
With stout resolve, they chose the latter course." Mount- 
batten and Jinnah were at once advised of the dilemma, and 
played their part in the operation by maintaining prepran- 
dial small talk for over half an hour, while the staff made 
feverish rearrangements. 

After dinner we were merged in a larger reception, and 
lo an accompaniment of sofl drinks and sweet music play- 
ed by a band of bearded warriors in kilts, the party ran 
its appointed course. Considering what lay behind all the 
arrangements — the hurried last-minute arrival of so many 
officials, the creation of a Government and a regime almost 
overnight— the reception was an administrative triumph. 
Jinnah himself as the host and hero of the occasion was 
an aloof, almost lonely figure, which may have helped to 
create a somewhat subdued atmosphere at this historic mo- 
ment. He was to be seen, with his silver hair and imma- 
culate white ashkan, towering above most of his guests, 
and talking to very few of them. They, for their part, did 
not presume to button-hole him. Here, indeed, was the 
apotheosis of leadership by remote control. 

I had never dreamt that the creator of a nation at the 
moment of reaching the promised land could, when sur- 
rounded by his devoted followers, be at such a distance 
from them. Finding him standing alone, I spoke with him 
for a few moments. I tried to find suitable words of con- 
gratulation, but they died away before his mood of pre- 
occupation, almost of reverie. 


new delhi, Thunday~triday> 14th-15th August, 1947 
Accommodation at Government House, Karachi, is 
strictly limited. The number of V.J.P.'s here for to-day's 
ceremonies has taxed Bill Birnie's resources to the utmost. 
Housing and hotel shortage is acute; but by dint of dis- 
persing and doubling up we were all successfully accom- 



We were up early this morning for the ceremonies at the 
Legislative Assembly. 1 arrived about half an hour before 
Jinnah and the Mountbattens, passing along part of tne 
official route. Neither the scale nor the enthusiasm of the 
crowds was anything like as great as I had expected. It 
did not seem to be on a higher pitch than some annual 
opening of Parliament. In the grounds facing the As- 
sembly, however, with its small, semi -circular, shell-shaped 
chamber, every available inch was occupied. The Mount- 
battens as they drove up were given the same cordial re- 
ception as the Jinnahs, who had arrived a few minutes 
ahead of them. Cordiality, too, was the key-note of both 
Mountbatten's and Jinnah\s speeches and of the reaction 
of the assembled Members. The precedence problem died 
a natural death. Lady Mountbatten pressed Miss Jinnah's 
hand alTcctionately as Jinnah sat down after giving his 

If Jinnah's personality is cold and remote, it also has 
n magnetic quality- the sense of leadership is almost over- 
powering. He makes only the most superficial attempt to 
disguise himself as a constitutional Governor-General, and 
one of his first acts after putting his name forward was to 
apply for powers under the 9th Schedule rather than Part 
H of the 1935 Act which gave him at once dictatorial pow- 
ers unknown to any constitutional Governor-General re- 
presenting the King. Here indeed is Pakistan's King Em- 
peror, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime 
Minister concentrated into one formidable Quaid-e-Azam. 

The proceedings were over within the hour, and Jinnah 
and Mountbatten drove back in State together. Once 
again the greetings of the crowd, apart from some lorry- 
loads of hilarious sailors of the Pakistan Navy and the 
usual excitement of children, were decorous rather than 
ecstatic. As they turned in at the gates of Government 
House, Jinnah put his hand on Mountbatten's knee and 
said with evident emotion, 4 Thank God [ have brought 
you back alive." By midday the Mounlbattens had paid 
their last farewells - Miss Jinnah embracing Lady Mount- 



batten, and Jinnah, still emotional, declaring his eternal 
gratitude and friendship. They were flying back to the 
tremendous ceremonial round confronting them in Delhi. 

As we passed over the Boundary area of the Punjab 
we could see several large fires, beacons of ill-omen domi- 
nating the landscape for miles around. 

No sooner had we touched down than I was caught in 
a whirl of last-minute publicity arrangements. Tight and 
complex time schedules are involved, rehearsals with photo- 
graphers and camera-men, discussions with the Informa- 
tion Ministry, distribution of hand-outs, invitations and in- 
quiries from Delhi's hundred and twenty Jndian and for- 
eign correspondents. Right up to the closing minutes 
of the day Mountbalten and his staff were busy at their res- 
pective desks. The Viceregal machine in the task of dis- 
mantling itself was at full pilch to the end. 

As the midnight hour drew near and the last telegrams 
from Viceroy to Secretary of Slate were being drafted and 
dispatched, I found myself alone with Mountbattcn in his 
study. To enable it to assume its sovereignty at the exact 
moment when the new order came into being the Legisla- 
tive Assembly was convened late on the night of the 
14th. After the passing of the resolution proclaiming In- 
dependence and inviting Mount batten to become the first 
constitutional Governor-General, Prasad and Nehru were 
to call on Mount batten and convev the invitation form- 
ally. It was expected that they would arrive at about 
12.45 a.m. 

As midnight struck Mountbalten was sitting quietly at 
his desk. I have known him in most moods: to-night 
ihere was an air about him of serenity, almost detach- 
ment. The scale of his personal achievement was too 
great for elation, rather his sense of hislory and the fit- 
ness of things at this dramatic moment, when* the old 
and the new order were reconciled in himself, called forth 

Quite deliberately he took off his reading-glasses, turned 
the keys on his dispatch boxes and summoned me to help 
M. M.— 7 


tidy the room and stow away these outward and visible 
signs of Viceregal activity. Although there was a whole 
army of servants outside, it never occurred to either of 
us to call them. Only when all the papers had been put 
away and his desk cleared were they called in to move 
some of the furniture and provide room for members of 
the Press who had been invited to witness the event. 

Correspondents who had been at the solemn ceremony 
at the Legislative Assembly began to dribble in. They 
reported that immense crowds had gathered on the route 
and that we could expect Prasad and Nehru to be some- 
what delayed. The proceedings in the Assembly had ap- 
parently been most impressive. With moving eloquence 
Nehru had said, **Long years ago we made a tryst with 
destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem 
our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but substan- 
tially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the 
world sleeps, India will awake lo life and freedom." 

Weary but happy, having escaped from the greetings 
of tremendous throngs, Prasad and Nehru finally arrived. 
In the little scene that ensued, friendship completely burst 
the bounds of formality. The Press correspondents 
flanked the room, photographers stood on the circular 
table. Although Nehru had given approval that the Press 
should be there. I think he must have forgotten that he 
had done so. Whether it was the presence of an audi- 
ence, or just the normal reaction after the great scenes 
in the Assembly, neither of them seemed lo know quite 
what to do. 

Finally Mountbatlen and Prasad stood facing each 
other, with Nehru, half sitting on Mountbatten's desk be- 
tween them. Prasad began murmuring a formal invi- 
tation. However, he forgot his lines, and Nehru played 
the role of benign prompter. Between them they ex- 
plained that the Constituent Assembly had just taken over 
and had endorsed the request of the leaders that Mount- 
batten should become the first Governor-General. To this 
message he smilingly replied, "I am proud of the honour. 



and I will do my best to carry out your advice in a con- 
stitutional manner". 

Thereupon Nehru, handing over a large and carefully 
addressed envelope, said in ceremonious terms, "May I 
submit to you the portfolios of the new Cabinet?'* The 
ceremony was all over in less than ten minutes, but there 
was more humanity and hope in this unrehearsed en- 
counter than in most of our Te Deums and victory 

I was once more alone with Mountbatten. Just to 
satisfy his curiosity and remind himself of the exact names 
of the Government to which he had previously agreed 
and which he would be swearing-in in a few hours' time, 
he opened the large envelope, but he was not to see his 
Prime Minister's submission that night, for by sublime 
oversight Nehru's envelope was empty. 


Friday, 15th August, 1947 
I doubt whether it will be given to me to live through 
a more crowded or memorable day than this. 

At 8.30 the trumpets and the sea rlet-and -gold which 
had heralded in twenty Viceroys summoned the State en- 
trance of the newly created Earl Mountbatten of Burma 
into the Durbar Hall, the first Governor-General of the 
free India. The strangeness of this great occasion lay 
not in its points of contrast with Mountbatten's earlier 
Viceregal installation, but in its essential similarity to the 
March ceremony. Now, of course, it was the function 
of an Indian Chief Justice, Dr. Kania, to administer the 
Oath to the Governor-General, and for an Indian Secre- 
tary of the Home Department to officiate in swearing in 
the Ministers of the new Dominion. Once again the rich 
red-velvet canopies were lit with hidden lights above the 
golden thrones. The carpets were a veritable field of the 
cloth of gold. Lady Mountbatten in gold lame herself 
adorned the splendid scene. 



The Mount bat tens had only just taken their seats on 
the throne when the whole Durbar Hall resounded with 
the explosion of one of the photographers' flash-bulbs. 
There was a momentary ripple of anxiety at this realistic 
portrayal of a bomb. The Mounlbattens, with the full 
force of the floodlights upon them, gave no outward sign 
that they had either seen the flash or heard the report. 
At the end of the ceremony the great bron/e doors of 
the Durbar Hall were opened and the link between the 
old order and the new was proclaimed with the playing 
of "God Save the King" followed by the Jana Gana 

A few moments later and the whole distinguished com- 
pany had dissolved, to be lost in the vast concourse mass- 
ing round the Council House. No sooner had the Mount- 
battens on their Slate drive passed out of the main gates 
of Viceroy's -from now on Government- House and 
down the slope between the Government Secretariat build- 
ings, than they were themselves engulfed and their landau 
almost lifted oft the ground by the dense laughing throng. 

I had moved quickly by a side route from Government 
House and had managed to slip into the Council House 
before the pressure became loo heavy: but as the minutes 
went by it became increasingly difficult to admit the vari- 
ous official guests through the great doors without also 
letting in a flood of citizens who were generating their 
own fren/ied enthusiasm with rhythmic chants of 4 *Jai 
Hind". Before long the great circular Council House was 
like a besieged fortress, and nobody knew how a wav 
would be made for the Mountbattens, on reaching the 
entrance, to leave jheir carriage arid actually get inside. 

For a short while the situation looked ugly. The 
crowd, estimated at over a quarter of a million, began 
making formidable rushes to break into the building, and 
Nehru and other Government leaders had to be sum- 
moned from the Chamber to try to calm them down. 
At first their appearance only fanned the flames of ex- 
citement, but somehow, with Indians of all descriptions 



on every side pressing to shake ihem by the hand, the 
Mounlbattens— their decorations and regalia miraculous- 
ly intact- -were safely shepherded into the main building. 

Within the Chamber itself the enthusiasm and expect- 
ancy, though not less genuine, were sufficiently restrain- 
ed to allow the formal ceremonies to come into their own 
again. Prasad began by reading nut a whole scries ol 
congratulatory messages from all over the world, but by 
a technical hitch, comparable no doubt with last night's 
missing letter, he forgot to read out President Truman's 
message - a lapse which was remedied only after Dr. 
Grady, the American Ambassador, had expostulated in 
a loud whisper. 

To the usual accompaniment of photographic barrage, 
Mountbatlcn then rose to address the Assembly. He be- 
gan by reading out the King's message, which was cor- 
dially received, and then proceeded to speak with far more 
emphasis and spirit than he usually does when he has 
to keep to a script. Although the words had been care- 
fully chosen, their underlying sincerity quickly drew the 
sympathy and applause of the packed Assembly. Re- 
ferences to the success of the Accession policy, to his 
request to be regarded "as one of yourselves" and to the 
leadership of Nehru and Patel were all acclaimed. But 
his solicitude for Gandhi drew the most prolonged cheers, 
and it was some time before he could proceed. 

In appearance he looked magnificent but approachable. 
As one Indian put it, 'His gift for friendship has triumph- 
ed over everything". It was psychologically sound for 
him to stress that he would definitely go when his work 
was completed in April. He also succeeded in convinc- 
ing his audience that no pressure would be put upon them 
to stay within the Commonwealth They were entirely 
free to make their own choice. Many told me after- 
wards how delighted they were that his speech had been 
so substantial. That it was in effect a policy declaration 
undoubtedly came as a welcome surprise. 



Prasad followed with a long address which he spoke 
first in Hindi and then in English. In both languages 
he was almost, inaudible. Of the Congress elder states- 
men Prasad is a moderate by conviction and tempera- 
ment. Where some of his colleagues may be lured into 
the pursuit of dialectical points beyond the bounds of good 
sense or self-interest, Prasad rarely indulges himself in 
outbursts, or over-statements. To-day he spoke from the 
heart. "Let us gratefully acknowledge", he said, "while 
our achievement is in no small measure due to our own 
sufferings and sacrifices, it is also the result of world 
forces and events, and last though not least it is the con- 
summation and fulfilment of the historic tradition and 
democratic ideals of the British race." After tributes 
to the Mountbattens as representatives of that race he 
added, "The period of domination of Britain over India 
ends to-day, and our relationship with Britain is hence- 
forward going to rest on a basis of equality, of mutual 
good-will and mutual profit." 

After the speeches the National flag was unfurled on 
the Council House and a salvo of thirty-one guns was 
fired. The Mountbattens* drive home was only the se- 
cond of several tumultuous rides during the day, and all 
the way back to Government House the cries of "Jai 
Hind" were mixed with "Mountbatten Ki Jai", and even 
"Pandit Mountbatten"! 

After lunch our procession of cars sped out to the 
Roshanara Gardens, where the Mountbattens in the blaz- 
ing heat mingled with five thousand school-children. Here 
was an abundance of Indian side-shows to amuse, amaze 
and even horrify. The spectacle of a fakir apparently 
biting the head off a snake, when added to the prevailing 
heat and clamour, nearly caused poor Pamela to pass 
out on the spot. But she and her parents stood up to 
this symbolically significant visit with the utmost verve 
and good -will. 

In accordance with long-established Indian custom at 
limes of rejoicing, the Mountbattens* last act before leav- 


1 89 

ing was to hand out gifts of sweets to the children. I 
do not deny that in pressing them to add this engage- 
ment to their already overcrowded list 1 have had its Pub- 
lic Relations value in mind, feeling that it was likely 
to make a deep impression on Indian sentiment because 
it was a genuine gesture of goodwill and could readily 
be seen to be such. 

On their return to Government House the Mount- 
battens only just had time to change for the culminating 
public ceremony, the unfurling of the flag near the war 
memorial in Princes Park. When we reached the special- 
ly constructed arena we showed our tickets to cheerful 
officials, who waved us on through numbered lanes. The 
planning for the whole ceremony had been based upon 
the assumption that a crowd of some thirty thousand 
people would be there, but unfortunately for the plan- 
ners the numbers were nearer three hundred thousand. 
The result was that the first impression of everything 
under control gave way to one of incomparable confu- 
sion when we emerged into what were supposed to be 
the parade-ground and reserved stands. We were sur- 
rounded by the happiest of human hubbubs. The 
crowds had taken complete possession of all the chairs, 
standing on the backs, arms and seats, approximately six 
Tndians to a chair. 

In this maelstrom of rank and race, sex and, caste were 
all lost in one vast unison — the desire of myriad human 
beings to reach the central dais with its flag-pole. In 
fact, the crowd became like some gigantic ocean remorse- 
lessly converging on a tiny island and liable at any mo- 
ment to engulf it. Nehru himself only managed to reach 
the central platform by some desperate providence, and 
when he saw Pamela Mountbatten struggling to get 
through the good-natured crowd he rushed at tfiem kick- 
ing out at random and snatching the topee off the head 
of one Indian in order to crash it down on the head of 
another. A distraught A.D.C. thought a riot might start 
at any moment, but he had missed the mood of this 



mighty assembly. On all sides there was laughter and 
good humour. 

Near where I was standing one hero was trying to ride 
a bicycle. I got the impression that somehow the crowd 
had caught up with him before he had reached his des- 
tination, with the result that he could neither get on with 
his journey nor get olT his machine. Fay, Marjorie 
Brockman and Pamela Nicholls were all trapped between 
the stands and the dais, but cheerful people shouted, 
"'Make way for the memsahibs!" Fay finally reached the 
B.B.C. recording van, where Wynford Vaughan Thomas 
was frantically engaged on one of his most vivid and 
spectacular outside broadcasts. He told me afterwards 
that it was the greatest crowd scene he had ever witnessed. 

Suddenly the cheering swelled into a roar, and from 
where 1 stood I could just catch a glimpse of the A.D.CYs 
in white followed by the fluttering lance pennants of the 
Governor-General's Body Guard, then the Governor- 
General's carriage and more Body Guard. The carriage 
and escort, moving fitfully, at last reached a point about 
twenty-five yards from the flagstaff. I could see the 
Mountballens standing up, waving to the crowd, which 
was cheering and waving back at them. Nehru made 
some last frantic efforts to call for order and clear a little 
space, but his pleas were in vain, so there was no alter- 
native but for Mountbattcn to stay in his carriage, and, 
while the flag was being hoisted, take the salute from 

Just as the flag was unfurled light rain began to fall 
and a rainbow appeared in the sky, matching the saffron, 
while and green of the flag. If Hollywood had added 
this last touch, we would all have complained that once 
again they were overdoing it; as it was, it would seem 
to provide a dramatic omen to refute the gloomier astro- 
logers. I must confess it would have taken a man of 
iron scepticism to be unimpressed by such an augury at 
such a moment. 



Mountbatten's return journey to Government House 
was the final triumph of friendly informality. Nehru 
was unable to get back to his car, so Mountbatten pull- 
ed him into the State carriage, where he sat on the hood. 
En route four women, a child and a Press photographer, 
in grave danger of being crushed under the wheels, were 
duly rescued by Mountbatten and joined the party, help- 
ing to swell the numbers in the carriage to twelve— shades 
of Curzon and his Durbar! 

Then, as grand finale to this historic day, we repaired 
to the State banquet at Government House, which was 
attended by most of the Cabinet, Diplomatic Corps, and 
military and civilian leaders. One or two of the Princes 
who felt uneasy about their degree of precedence when 
in the company of members of the new Government 
were the only notable absentees. The climax was reach- 
ed when Nehru rose to propose the health of the King, 
and Mountbatten replied with the toast of the Dominion 
Government. Both speeches, delivered without notes, 
were for the benefit of the assembled nuests alone. There 
were thus none of the restraints imposed by the demands 
of world publicity. 

All present, said Nehru, would have seen how enthu- 
siastic the crowds in Delhi had been in celebrating this 
great day. Similar scenes were undoubtedly being enact- 
ed all over Jndia. Politics and economics had an im- 
portant place in the relations between nations; but he 
wanted to stress the importance of the psychological and 
emotional factors in dealing with the people of India- 
Those who merely sat in their offices in Delhi handling 
political problems and economic planning— important as 
those issues were— were not in real touch "with the nation. 
Different views might be taken of the benefits In^lia might 
or might not have derived from her past connection with 
Britain, but it was altogether wrong that rule should be 
exercised by a Great Power over a'people striving to be 
free. Now that India had attained her independence, the 



'people not only showed their joy, but also made plain a 
remarkable change in their attitude towards the British. 

In paying a special tribute to Mountbatten, he said he 
had seen so clearly from the outset how vital it was to 
act quickly and to make the correct psychological ap- 
proach to India in giving effect to the policy of His 
Majesty's Government. Whatever shape the relations be- 
tween Britain and India might take in the future, a new 
start had been made, and he hoped and believed that 
the friendship between them would endure. 

Mountbatten in his reply said that his predecessors had 
been unfortunate in having to sit on a stationary bicycle, 
which was a very difficult balancing feat. He had, how- 
ever, been given the "Go ahead" to start pedalling. It 
had been his function to pedal faster and faster, until a 
point was now reached when he was handing over the 
bicycle to his Government, who had gripped the handle- 
bars firmly. 

1 sat next to l ; eroze Gandhi, Nehru's son-in-law, Man- 
aging Director of the influential Lucknow National Herald. 
1 stressed what was in my heart to say that whether India 
stayed in or went out of the Commonwealth the con- 
solidation of friendship between our peoples was all that 

At 9.15 p.m. three thousand guests filed upstairs and 
were individually presented to the Mountbattcns — their 
final social tour de force on this day of days. All the 
State rooms and drawing-rooms were thrown open, and 
the floodlit Moghul gardens, festooned with fairy lights, 
-were lovely too look upon, ft was by now cool and the 
air soft and scented. The party went on in an atmos- 
phere of cordial good cheer into the early hours of the 
morning. Gone was the sense of strain and stiffness which 
was so evident among the Tndian guests at the first garden- 
parly in March. Here was the social ease which only the 
underlying sense of equality recognised on all sides can 



So many appropriate words have been written in the 
many souvenir editions of the newspapers, but 1 liked 
best K. M. Munshi's comment on Mountbatten's ap- 
pointment as Governor-General: — 

"No power in history", he writes, "but Great Britain 
would have conceded independence with such grace, and 
no power but India would have so gracefully acknowledg- 
ed the debt." 

Part II 





Saturday, 16th August, J947 
Very early this morning the National flag was hoisted 
over the Red Fort in Old Delhi, and Nehru addressed a 
crowd estimated at some half a million, stretching, J am 
told, all the way to that other monument of Moghul 
splendour, the mighty Mosque of the Jama Masjid. But 
the rejoicings of the morning were all too soon tempered 
by the depression of the leaders this afternoon, when 
Mountbatlen handed over to them the Radcliffe Award. 
He allowed them two hours in which to digest its terms 
before summoning a formal meeting in the Council Cham- 
ber of Government House. Liaquat was there, and not 
the least of Mountbatten\s achievements in Karachi this 
week was in securing Jinnah's reluctant agreement for 
Liaquat to make this visit at all, coming as it did within 
twenty-four hours of his assumption of the Premiership 
of Pakistan. I was present at this sombre and sullen 
gathering, where the only unanimity was in denunciation 
of this or that communal "in justice". The field was thus 
left clear for Mountbatten to point with well-timed em- 
phasis the moral that in so far was imjpossible for 
all the parties to be equally satisfied with Radcliffe's 
verdict, the best evidence of its fairness seemed to rest in 
the undoubted equality of their displeasure. 

We were given the first shots of what will undoubtedly 
be a prolonged and passionate controversy. Liaqual's 
dismay at the inclusion of the Gurdaspur District in East 
Punjab was offset by Patel's anger over the Ghittagong 
Hill Tracts passing to Eastern Pakistan, while the resent- 
ment of both was blanketed by Baldev's dumb depression. 




None of the Leaders, however, saw fit to carry their critic- 
ism to the point of repudiating their unconditional pledge 
made in advance to accept the Award whatever its terms 
might be. 

Even as we met, momentous news was coming in from 
both the partitioned Provinces which provided at once a 
warning and an example of the need for bold leadership. 
In the Punjab the people are taking the situation into 
their own hands. What Jenkins has aptly termed the war 
of succession has broken out in full fury in the land of 
the five rivers. This afternoon Auchinleck gave a terse 
and terrifying situation report to the Leaders which has 
caused them to decide on an immediate reinforcement of 
the Boundary Force. 

In Calcutta, on the other hand, where the danger of a 
similar succession struggle was deemed to be no less acute, 
all is comparatively quiet, with only sporadic acts of viol- 
ence. Gandhi has made his healing presence felt. With 
his sense of the fitness of things, he left Delhi before the 
Independence celebrations, no doubt feeling that it would 
be difficult for him to play an appropriate role in these 
official rejoicings and that more urgent duties awaited him 
in the Fast. On the 13th he invited the last Moslem 
Prime Minister of a United Bengal, Shaheed Suhrawardy 
— a man of fairly luxurious tastes- -to lake up his abode 
with him in a small home in the Moslem quarter and to 
share ir^his acts of dedication. That night Hindu youths 
stoned the place. Gandhi's response was to mark yester- 
day's Independence celebrations as a day of fasting. 

In view of the grave Punjab developments, Nehru and 
Liaquat have decided to go together at once to Ambala, 
and thence to Amfitsar, where they can make an appre- 
ciation and take the highest-level decisions on the spot. 


Friday, 22nd August, J 947 
Mountbatten has written a long letter to Nehru and 
Patel urging the need for economic planning. He is 



afraid these stern economic realities may be swamped by 
political considerations and by attempts to apply some 
of the more eccentric of Gandhi's theories, including the 
rigid enforcement of prohibition of all alcoholic drink, 
upon which a large proportion of provincial revenues de- 
pends, and the wholesale abolition of totxl and cotton 
controls, without which the general price structure may 
collapse, enabling speculators to sei/e the helm. 


Monday, 25th August, 1947 
In the morning Mountbatten had a difficult session with 
the Joint Defence Council, the point of controversy being 
the future of the Punjab Boundary Force. The two Go- 
vernments would like to see the Force broken up and 
reconstituted on national lines with Indian and Pakistan 
Commanders-in-Chief. Mountbatten went into the meet- 
ing aware that this idea would be completely unaccept- 
able to Auchinleck and Recs, and thai in any case it ran 
counter to his own views. He managed so to steer the 
discussions that the matter was not formally raised, but 
could not divert Chundriiiar, the Pakistan Finance Minis- 
ter and representative at the meeting, from making some 
highly critical comment about the Force's conduct. 

This was too much for Mountbatten, who had just 
urged that a word of appreciation from the Leaders to 
the officers and men of the Force was urgently needed to 
maintain their sorely tried morale. If the Force did not 
receive proper support, the only thing would be to re- 
move it, and then the responsibility for the resulting blood- 
shed would rest squarely on those who had caused it to 
be taken away. Tndeed, at one moment Mountbatten 
raised a ripple of amusement when he turned on Chundri- 
gar with the fatherly reproof, "I hate to think what your 
Governor-General would say if he heard you talking like 

The meeting authorised the publication of a communi- 
que about the Boundary Force. Vernon and I were en- 


trusted with the preparation of a draft for everyone's ap- 
proval, with the result that we spent the afternoon run- 
ning between the Pakistan High Commissioner's house in 
Hardinge Avenue, where Chundrigar is staying, and 
Nehru's office in the Secretariat. Chundrigar was most 
insistent that a clause should be inserted indicating that 
severe action would be taken against the Boundary Force 
in the future if it failed in its duty. We were ourselves 
already trying to tone down another sentence which in- 
dicated that the Boundary Force "with a few exceptions" 
was doing a good job. 

We emerged from the discussions with the offending 
words deleted. The whole episode makes it abundantly 
clear that both Governments will have to change their 
attitudes to military forces doing difficult jobs on their 
behalf if they are not to have mutinies on their hands. 
The days of glory from sniping at the upholders of law 
and order are over. 

While waiting in the ante-room to Nehru's office, we 
reflected on the function of a minor official who spent 
the time spinning a paper-weight, answering the odd tele- 
phone call, glancing at the odd envelope and generally 
letting things take their course. It was hard to believe 
that one was sitting in a Prime Minister's office. 

On our return to Government House, Mountbatten 
showed me a telegram from Monckton saying that he had 
been compelled to resign his position as constitutional 
adviser to the Nizam although he still had His Exalted 
Highness' confidence. He added that he felt that he ought 
not now to stay # at Government House, as this action 
might be misconstrued. The news came as a great blow 
to Mountbatten. "We're sunk!" he exclaimed. 

Hver since July the difficult negotiations between 
Hyderabad and the Government of India as to their rela- 
tions after the transfer of power have largely turned upon 
the influence and availability of Monckton as a member 
of the Nizam's delegation. 



As late as the 12th August, Mountbatten, with no settle- 
ment in sight, advised the Nizam that he had secured a 
special extension of two months beyond Independence Day 
during which the Government's offer to receive Hydera- 
bad's accession would remain open. He also explained 
that although he would no longer be Crown Representa- 
tive, he had been authorised to continue negotiations on 
India's behalf, and in the meanwhile had secured Indian 
recognition of the status quo in Berar, which was legally 
a part of the Nizam's dominion, but hitherto administered 
by the Governor of the Central Provinces. Finally he was 
able to give the vital assurances to the Nizam, after con- 
sultation with V. P., that the new Dominion would not 
regard Hyderabad's decision not to accede in present cir- 
cumstances as a hostile act, and to add that he was satis- 
fied that the leaders had no intention of applying diplo- 
matic pressure by means of economic blockade. 

The negotiations with the Hyderabad delegation were 
due to be resumed to-day. On receipt of Monckton's 
telegram Mountbatten called for V. P., and was discuss- 
ing the new position with him when Vernon and 1 left to 
deal with the Boundary Force communique. On our 
return the situation seemed to have improved. A tele- 
gram from the Nizam had arrived asking Mountbatten to 
see Monckton on his behalf and encourage him to stay 
on in his service. The Nizam confessed that if Monckton 
returned at this juncture he would have great difficulty in 
appointing someone else in his place. 

Monckton came round at once, and explained that he 
had resigned because of a most violent attack against him 
in the Hyderabad Press organised by an extremist Moslem 
organisation in the State, the Ittchad-ul-Muslimeen. He 
said that the Prime Minister (the Nawab of Chhatari) 
and the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, both fellow- 
members of the delegation, had also resigned for the 
same reason. The Nizam had refused to accept Chhatari's 
resignation. Monckton said he was prepared to with- 



draw his own only if there was a previous public with- 
drawal of the Ittchad's statement. 

Monckton advised Mountbattcn that he had brought 
the Nizam up to the point of ottering a treaty which 
would cover the three central subjects of Defence, Ex- 
ternal Affairs and Communications, and was confident 
that he could persuade him to accept the equivalent of 
accession provided the lerm "Instrument of Accession" 
was given sonic such sugar-coating as "Article of As- 
sociation". Mountbattcn pointed out that this was the 
precise issue over which Patel was most adamant, in so 
far as he was afraid of being accused of breach of faith 
with all the other Princely signatories to Accession Instru- 
ments, But Mountbatten promised to do his utmost to 
get his Government's support for the substance of acces- 
sion if Monckton on his side could secure the Nizam's 
assent to it. 

The news has also come through to-day that Bhopal 
has at Jast acceded — he was allowed ten days grace before 
his Instrument of Accession was actually published. "It 
is almost as hectic as it was before the 15th August/' was 
Mounthillen's comment. 


Wednesday, 27th August, 1947 
V. P. and 1 had an important talk with Mountbatten 
in his bedroom early this morning on the subject of the 
Punjab Boundary Force and the Press attacks being made 
upon it both in the Hindustan limes and the Indian 
News Chronicle. V. P. said there was a growing feeling 
on both sides that flie new Governments should have more 
direct military contiol over their respective areas. Mount- 
batten agreed that although the Boundary Force was un- 
doubtedly the best military answer to the problem, he was 
ready to concede that in this instance psychological reasons 
might outweigh purely military ones. His mind was 
moving in favour of retrocession of the Boundary Force's 



We then discussed the Press situation. V. P. thought 
we should not take the Delhi Press too seriously, as the 
big Provincial papers were all very steady on the issue. 
The Hindustan Times this morning carried a direct attack 
on Rees and a most objectionable cartoon implying that 
the Supreme Command's Headquarters were deliberately 
depriving the Dominion Armies of good officers in order 
to retain big jobs for themselves. As a result of our talk, 
Mountbatten has decided that he will see Devadas Gandhi 
and Sahni, the Hindustan limes' and the Indian News 
Chronicle's editors, this afternoon, and has instructed mc 
to arrange the meeting. 

Devadas and Sahni duly arrived at four o'clock, anti- 
cipating, I suspect, a drily reception, but Mountbatten 
was in his best form, delivering his disapproval from be- 
hind a smoke-screen of engaging frankness. He has the 
rare knack of combining vehemence with bonhomie. He 
started the session with a general homily on the need to 
avoid attacking the military, who cannot answer for them- 
selves. If soldiers begin answering back you get a situa- 
tion, he said, as in Mexico, where they throw out the 
editors. As against this dangerous example he stressed 
the recent case of General Barker in Palestine, where 
Press criticism of the General's conduct was levelled not 
at the General himself, but at Bellenger, the Secretary of 
Stale for War and the Minister answerable to Parliament 
for the General's actions. 

Mountbatten then turned to a general account of what 
was happening in the Punjab. The Sikhs, he said, had 
launched an attack just as Giani Kartar Singh and Tara 
Singh before the 3rd June had told him they would. 
Mountbatten had expostulated with then] at the time, 
stressing that the British would have gone. It would be 
Indian fighting Indian. But they were adamant, 'and had 
in fact observed that they were wailing for us to go. The 
situation was now out of their control. In an area less 
than two hundred by one hundred and fifty miles con- 
' laining some seventeen thousand inhabited localities and 


only about the size of Wales, some ten million people 
were on the move. At this moment, through the with- 
drawal of all the Moslems, the police in the East Punjab 
were suddenly and catastrophically seven thousand under 

Mountbatten then explained in detail the military vir- 
tues of the Boundary Force and the capabilities of Pete 
Rees, whom he described as perhaps his ablest divisional 
commander in the Burma campaign. It was Rees — "the 
pocket General'* — who had led the famous "Dagger" 
Division in its successful dash to liberate Mandalay. He 
had explained to the Defence Council that the limiting 
factor now was that Rees was under civilian control. It 
was only fair to add that Nehru had indicated that he was 
very impressed with Rees. 

Mountbatten next explained the military alternatives by 
pressing one hand against the seam of his trousers and 
taking the seam as the Boundary Force command head- 
quarters with its subordinate commands radiating out on 
both sides of the seam from his fingers. The national 
commands he described merely by turning the finger-tips 
of both hands in upon each other and placing them at 
right angles to the seam. 

Sahni said at great length that he felt very bitter, as 
he came from the Boundary area. Devadas made no 
ellorl to defend the cartoon or the attack on Rees. Some 
constructive ideas arose during the talk, which lasted near- 
ly two hours. These included sponsored Press visits and 
dissemination of neutral news by leaflet, the setting up 
of strongholds guarded by mixed forces to give immediate 
succour to refugee^, and the appointment of custodians 
for refugee property to cover movable as well as immov- 
able belongings. 


Thursday, 28th August, 1947 
Lady Mountbatten and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the new 
Minister of Health, have just come back from the heart- 



land of the communal frenzy, visiting no fewer than 
twelve refugee centres and camps, as well as seven hos- 
pitals and a number of other medical units, engaging in 
numerous conferences with officials, from the Governors 
of the East and West Punjab downwards. It has been a 
heroic errand of mercy to the point of danger at the hour 
of trouble. 

There could be no more compelling catalogue to testify 
to Lady Mounlbatten's devotion to duty. Her report on 
the situation on both sides of the Boundary is disquieting 
enough. The refugees are now in a state of mass hysteria. 
Neither side has any trust in the intentions, assurances or 
actions of the other Dominion. She reports also that there 
is a complete lack of confidence in the Punjab Boundary 


Saturday, 30th August, 1947 
Mountbatten was in Lahore yesterday to take the chair 
at the Joint Defence Council, which Jinnah, to everyone's 
surprise, attended as a member. After prolonged discus- 
sion the decision was taken to disband the Boundary 
force. Pete Rees received very lew thanks from cither 
side for his efforts to carry out a task of unparalleled 
difficulty. Without the whole-hearted backing of the Gov- 
ernments and Press on both sides, the position of the 
Boundary Force and its Commander became rapidly un- 
tenable, and otherwise steady and experienced troops be- 
gan to feel the tug of communal loyalties deeper even 
than their military discipline. 

Now that the Punjab Boundary Force and the Joint 
Defence Council's authority over it are at an end. Mount- 
batten's last executive responsibility lapses. He considers 
that as a matter of policy he should confirm his new con- 
stitutional status by freeing himself from day-to-day con- 
tact with the executive or from any direct administrative 
interference in the Government's action to restore the im- 
mediate situation. He has accordingly decided to go ahead 



with earlier arrangements and visit Simla for ten days 
of well-earned and badly needed rest. 

Meanwhile lsmay has gone for his much-needed rest 
to Kashmir and has been asked by Mountbatten to do 
his best to gel the Maharaja to make up his vacillating 
mind and accede without further delay to whichever 
Dominion he and his people desire, thus ending the un- 
certain and dangerously unstable position in Kashmir. 




Saturday, 6th September, 1947 
Wi wi rl on the road early yesterday morning, arriving 
at Government House during the afternoon, where we 
found V. P. awaiting Mountbatten with a message from 
Patel hoping that he will grip the situation firmly without 
delay. Nehru came round immediately to enlist his active 
and overriding authority to deal with the emergency, fol- 
lowed by Patel. 

The decision of ihc Prime Mimster and Deputy Prime 
Minister of the new India, taken only three weeks after 
the exhilaration of Independence, to recall Mountbatten 
in this way, is a great tribute to the quality of their 
character and leadership. For by this act they have shown 
themselves big enough to recognise I hat Mountbatten's ex- 
perience in high-leyel administration is something which 
they have not yet acquired. 

After Mountbatten had had two or three hours to ac- 
quaint himself fully of the scale of the crisis, he proposed 
that an Emergency Committee should be set up. This 
was at once agreed to by Nehru and Patel, and at their 
insistence Mountbatten accepted the chairmanship. Noth- 
ing less will meet the case, for we are in fact confronted 



with the deadly perils of war emergency without having 
available the normal instruments or priorities of war to 
counteract it. With the spread of communal fears and 
frenzies which we are witnessing in the Punjab, the scale 
of the killings and the movement of refugees become even 
more extensive than those caused by the more formal con- 
flicts of opposing armies. As with nearly all the great 
migrations of history, the people themselves hold sway 
and create conditions which many can exploit but none 
can command. 

The fact that Delhi itself is in the epicentre of this earth- 
quake automatically converts a provincial into a national 
crisis. In this respect the Punjab catastrophe is perhaps 
even more deadly for India than for Pakistan, whose 
capital, Karachi, is at a safe distance from the disturb- 
ances. None-lhe-less Jinnah on his side has already made 
an urgent broadcast appeal to his people to help in restor- 
ing peace and in building up the new State. Even if the 
Boundary Award was "unjust, incomprehensible and even 
perverse," Moslems had agreed to abide by it. The new 
nation should see to it that what had been won by the 
pen was not lost by the sword. 

It is easy to forget how far to the north Delhi lies- 
north even of Mount Everest. 1 here arc those who argue 
that it has alwavs been too far removed from the hub of 
Indian life, and that with Partition this objection is rein- 
forced; but a voluntary change of capital is one thing, a 
compulsory evacuation by the new Government within a 
month of attaining Independence quite another. And this 
is undoubtedly the issue, for nearly half a million refugees 
are moving towards the city, already overcrowded, bring- 
ing in their train disorders and disease wholly beyond 
Delhi's administrative resources to control. * 

Mountbatlcn had an exhaustive discussion with his own 
stalT in advance of the first meeting of the Emergency 
Committee of the Cabinet over which he was to preside 
later in the afternoon. We were all asked to make rccom- 



mendations, and we are all to be at the disposal of the 
Committee, lsmay is being recalled from Kashmir. 

My own suggestions to help meet the Press and Public 
Relations side of the problem included proposals to secure 
the earliest possible publicity link-up with Pakistan; the 
re-naming and regrading of the Committee to Council of 
State; the appointment of a Public Relations sub-Com- 
mittee to consist if possible of a representative from the 
Ministry of Information, the Commander-in-Chief's staff 
and myself; the firm avoidance of censorship which the 
Government may be tempted to impose, and finally the , 
importance of playing down Mountbatten's role as chair- 
man. With this last concept Mountbatten whole-heartedly 
concurred, as also with my views on the dangers of cen- 
sorship. The Council of State concept was not seriously 
discussed and, owing to the tempo of the day's events, can 
be said to have been still-born. The Public Relations 
sub-Committee was no sooner mentioned than it was ap- 
proved, and 1 was commissioned to promote it at once 
with the Ministry of Information and the Commander- 

Mountbatten's reaction to the crisis was to set in motion 
procedure already tried and proved both at C.O.H.Q. and 
in S.E.A.C. He said his objective was to convert the 
Emergency Committee into a daily staff meeting at which 
spokesmen from every department of the "command" 
(in this instance Government Departments) could raise 
and answer questions. Out of these meetings priorities as 
between departments would be established. Once again 
Mountbatten showed himself a firm believer in the "sov- 
ereignty of discussion". Only by this means does he 
consider that the snags can quickly be uncovered and the 
solutions found. 

He also resolved to resume his old war and map-room 
procedure to provide the Cabinet and himself with the 
maximum factual information by visual aid both with 
regard to the number of disturbances and the movement 
of refugees. To this end he has decided to call in Pete 



Rees, whose Boundary Force Command closed down last 
week, to become head of a small Military Emergency Staff 
operating inside Government House. Pamela, who, with 
her medical and welfare work and her Presidency of the 
Caravan Club (an Indian youth movement), has already 
done her full share to keep the Mountbatten flag flying, 
is to be his personal assistant. 

The first Emergency Committee met in the Council 
Chamber of Government House at five o'clock, and sat 
for over two hours. Nehru opened the proceedings by 
turning to Mountbatten and saying, 44 1 will only take 
your advice on one condition — that you will take the 
chair". And Mountbatten accepted under another con- 
dition: that the fact is not to be published. Complete 
secrecy will be difficult, but, as 1 stressed at an earlier 
Staff Meeting, there could be no keener advocate of Press 
and Radio silence on this assignment than myself, and 
I am determined to do all in my power to maintain it. 

It has been agreed that the Committee should consist 
only of essential Cabinet Ministers and other vital people, 
such as the Commander-in-Chief, the Supreme Com- 
mander's representative, the Chief Commissioner of Delhi, 
the Chief of Police, the Director-General of Civil Aviation, 
Medical and Railway representatives. Everyone else is to 
be co-opted as required. The Ministers who are to join 
Nehru and Patel as permanent members are Baldev Singh 
(Defence), Matthai (Railways) and Neogy (in the newly 
created post of Refugees). Altogether fifteen of us were 
there for this initial meeting. 

The general mood at the outset was of dazed bewilder- 
ment and aimlessness before the unknown. Nehru, for 
whom all the horrors of the first month of Independence 
seemed to come as the crucifixion of his life-wori, looked 
inexpressibly sad and resigned. Patel was clearly dis- 
turbed with deep anger and frustration. But for Mount- 
batten, weighed down by none of these inner misgivings, 
the occasion called forth all his powers of objective and 



dynamic decision, and he at once radiated confidence and 
a sense of purpose where none had existed before. 

As soon as the actual constitution of the Committee had 
been decided we were promptly plunged into a number 
of "most immediate" items. The Ministry of Refugees 
had still to be set up. The Committee wanted to know 
by the next morning the name of the person appointed to 
be secretary to the Ministry. It then proceeded to tackle 
the difficult but uigent problem of accommodating this 
wholly new Department. Ismay was given the task of 
acting in a liaison capacity between the Fmergency Com- 
mittee and the Pakistan Government. 

In the general zeal to get going, our newly fledged Pub- 
lic Relations Committee has been directed to "attempt to 
improve the standard of reporting of the Delhi newspapers 
on the communal situation, and to report"! On this oc- 
casion J think the result will be limited to our "reporting", 
but it made everyone feel good, and that is the crux of 
the matter. 

There was an exhaustive discussion on the imposition 
of martial law-. Mountbatten considers there is a strong 
case for it in the Punjab, but only if all four Governments 
concerned are ready to back it. As this seemed on the 
whole unlikely, the Committee called for urgent examina- 
tion of ways and means to stiffen existing acts in force 
in the Fast Punjab. Altogether some twelve items were 
cleared, from the setting up of a relief committee under 
Lady Mountbatten to the control of R.A.F. transport and 
the dropping of leaflets, from the freezing of assets to the 
disposal of jeeps. Everyone left the session somewhat 
breathless. * 

To-morrow Trivedi, the Hast Punjab Governor, with his 
Prime Minister. Gopi Chand Bhargava, and Home Minis- 
ter, Swaran Singh, are to attend the Committee. 

From Calcutta comes news of Gandhi's "miracle". His 
initial partnership with Suhrawaidy did not achieve all 
that he had hoped: isolated stabbings and acts of violence 
continued. So on Monday he began a fast to end only 


if sanity relumed to the city. On Thursday he was able 
lo call it oil" after leaders of the various communities had 
given guarantees that the masses had already responded 
to the Mahalma's appeal through soul resistance for a 
change of heart. 

After one of his Prayer Meetings, Hindus and Moslems 
by their thousands mingled and embraced in the Maidan. 
Hardened Press correspondents report that they have seen 
nothing comparable with this demonstration of mass in- 
fluence. MountbaUcn's estimate is that he has achieved 
by moral persuasion what lour Divisions would have been 
hard pressed lo have accomplished by force. 


Sunday, 7ih September, 1947 
Our meeting began at eleven, but Trivedi and the Fast 
Punjab Ministers failed to arrive on time. Mountbalten 
started off by reporting that the situation in Delhi had 
worsened very considerably during the previous twenty- 
four hours. There had been a large number of incidents, 
including the slabbing of employees on the Government 
House estate, and far too many refugees were coming 
through before there was any organisation to receive them. 

He turned at once lo the question of banning the carry- 
ing of all weapons, which of course raised in its turn the 
problem of the kirpans or swords worn by the Sikhs. 
Patel felt that any suggestion of banning kirpans would 
raise great difficulties, as they had been recognised by the 
Government as religious weapons for many years. Mount- 
batten argued that the unqualified right of Sikhs to carry 
kirpans at this time stood in the way of precautions for law 
and order taken by every city in the world, but he agreed 
that the basic question was, which decision would lead to 
fewer people being killed— the banning of the kirpan or 
the safeguarding of Sikh religious feeling? 

"If we go down in Delhi'*, Mountbatten warned, "we 
are finished." Ismav suecested reinforcinc the police with 
a cadre of special constables. Patel was doubtful, but 


Nehru in favour. Trivedi finally arrived at ten to one, 
starting off with an impassioned speech which was clearly 
based on the mistaken assumption that the Emergency 
Committee was nothing other than a Grand Inquisition on 
himself and his Government. In answer to Mountbatten's 
inquiry about the East Punjab's capacity to preserve law 
and order, and suggestion that this was the problem of 
top priority, Trivedi replied that the most urgent issue 
confronting him was the evacuation of refugees. 

In view of the late arrival of the East Punjab conting- 
ent, it was decided to meet again later in the day, and 
we resumed at 6 p.m. It was a rather better meeting this 
time. Nehru and Patel stood firm about the Sikhs, and 
there is to be a ban on all weapons. "1 will not tolerate 
Delhi becoming another Lahore", Patel declared, and 
Nehru added, "I am certain in my mind kirpans may have 
to be taken away." Jeeps also are to be stopped from 
plying the streets- -Nehru speaking of them as "a source 
of much mischief". 

The reports coming in which show the Delhi situation 
to be rapidly deteriorating call for coolness and strength. 
There has been a massacre at Willingdon airfield, and the 
Sikhs have delivered threats to the Australian High Com- 
missioner and to the United States Ambassador. Mount- 
batten warned the meeting that the whole reputation of 
India is involved in providing complete physical security 
for its diplomatic representatives. 

As token of his resolve to back his words with action, 
Mountbatten has put his Body Guard at the disposal of 
the Garrison Commander. Normally the Delhi Garrison 
is of brigade strength. But it has been pushed out bat- 
talion by battalion into the riot-torn Gurgaon district to 
try to keep the trouble out of the city itself. When, there- 
fore, the trouble came in, there was simply no Garrison 
available. The Body Guard is certainly a corps d'elite, 
and in order to proclaim the perfect non-communal dis- 
cipline, they have been patrolling the streets in sections 



of armoured cars, each consisting of one manned by Pun- 
jabi Mussulmans and one by Sikhs operating in concert. 


Monday, 8th September, 1947 
Less than forty-eight hours after our return Mount- 
batten's "Map Room" is in action. Situated in the ante- 
room next to the Council Chamber, it is designed to pro- 
vide members of the Emergency Committee before their 
morning meetings with intelligence appreciations — sup- 
ported by visual aids— of the disturbances and refugee 
movements on both sides of the Punjab Boundary. Much 
midnight oil has been burned to get the maps and flags 
in the correct position in time for this morning's meeting. 
There was a somewhat inauspicious start to the proceed- 
ings, as the unfortunate Lieutenant-Colonel detailed to 
give the situation report to the assembled notables fainted 
while doing so— undoubtedly from overwork. 

My afternoon was given over to the first meeting of 
the United Council for Relief and Welfare — a title arrived 
at, incidentally, only after prolonged discussion — which is 
designed to co-ordinate the growing volume of voluntary 
relief. Lady Mountbatten was in the chair, and handled 
this body of volunteers and individualists with a perfect 
blend of charm and strength. They emerged from the 
session a potential team with a central purpose.. No fewer 
than fifteen different organisations were represented at 
Government House to-day, and it is safe to say that only 
a dire emergency, together with Lady Mountbatten's ad- 
ministrative and diplomatic skill, would have brought 
them under one roof to pool their experience and effort. 

Peter Howes tells me, incidentally, that among the many 
emergency duties falling on Mountbatten's British and 
Indian A.D.C.'s, attendance on Lady Mountbatten 'is hard- 
ly the most popular. For in the course of her tours of 
hospitals it usually involves assisting her to bring in to 
the local infirmaries any bodies they may see in the streets. 
She is not deterred from carrying out these errands of 



mercy, even when passing through areas where sniping is 
going on. 

Jn the evening I had a long talk with the Nawab of 
Chhalari, the Nizam's Prime Minister. While anxious to 
be loyal to His Exalted Highness, he is finding it hard 
to interpret the diverse instructions he receives. Clearly 
his period of office and influence has not long to run. 
He and Monckton, who are both staying at Government 
House, had a meeting with Mountbatten to-day. 

In the present emergency here in Delhi Hyderabad ap- 
pears a less pressing problem, which makes Mountbatten 
think that this may be the psychological opportunity to 
promote the verbal variant to accession. At the Hydera- 
bad end, the Nizam, in token of his desire to retain 
Moncklon's services, issued a week ago a strongly worded 
finnan (or official statement) condemning the attacks 
made on the members of his delegation as damaging the 
interests of the State. This he followed up with letters 
to Mountbatten confirming his confidence in Monckton 
and repudiating in picturesque terms the activities of the 
HtchaU, and in particular of its fanatical president, Kasim 

But while the Nizam himself may be moving haltingly 
towards an accommodation. Congress intelligence (which 
is remarkably well informed on States' affairs) has been 
picking up disquieting data about the efforts of the Nizam's 
Government to place orders for armaments in Czechoslo- 
vakia and in general to build up its separate sovereignty. 
Chhatari, however, is well aware that any such course 
would be disastrous for Hyderabad and India alike, and 
the mood of to-day's meeting was one of genuine desire 
on both sides to break through the deadlock. It has been 
conceded that the principals in the negotiations may not 
be able to agree on a formula at the first attempt, and on 
this understanding it was decided thai Monckton and 
Chhalari should return to Hyderabad in a fresh effort to 
narrow the gap. 



Just before turning in I looked out from my bedroom 
window towards the old city. 1 could see several big fires 
raging, and half expected to hear the, wail of air-raid sirens 
and the drone of aircraft, or at least the shouting of mobs, 
but whatever horrors and sufferings were being endured 
at that moment, no Sound of them reached out to me to 
break the sultry and sinister silence of the night. In pur- 
suit of "feature epics" there is a British Press report of 
half a million people fighting in the blazing streets of 
Delhi, but this is manifestly gross exaggeration, and gives 
u wholly misleading picture of the furtive hit-and-run 
character of so much of this arson and muiiier. L want to 
try to see for myself wh?t is really happening. 


Tuesday, Vth September, 1947 
To-day Mountbatten has seen Gandhi, who has just 
arrived in Delhi from his "miracles" in Calcutta, about 
which he is characteristically :.hy and self-deprecating. He 
confessed to Mountbatten that he had changed his mind 
about Government House, which hitherto he had de- 
nounced as the symbol of alien and false power. Now 
he was glad to find that it had been kept "a secure island 
in a sea of insecurity". He was convinced that the emerg- 
ency staff and the Committee working and deliberating 
far removed from public clamour may well have saved 
the Central Government. 

This morning's Emergency Committee meeting had be- 
fore it reports of a serious situation developing in Peshawar 
and other parts of the North-west Frontier Province, now 
in Pakistan. The immediate? ministerial reaction is to 
believe the worst. There are moments when one feels 
that these two new nations are obsessed with some over- 
whelming death-wish and that there is no real awareness 
that to pursue the communal feud to its end must mean 
M. M. — 8 



Thursday, 11th September, 1947 
V. P. told me before the Emergency Committee meet- 
ing that the Delhi situation was undoubtedly improving 
and that the Sikhs were answering Patel's appeal. But at 
the meeting itself I got the impression that Patel was 
changing his mind on the kirpan issue. There was quite a 
brisk exchange between the two strong men of the Go- 
vernment. "Murder", said Nehru, "is not to be justified 
in the name of religion." "This is not fair," Patel re- 
torted. "There is no question of doing so, but the Gov- 
ernment must respect all religions." 

A Delhi Emergency Committee has now been set up 
to deal specifically with the crisis in the capital and to 
leave the Cabinet Emergency Committee, from which it 
derives its authority, free to deal with the wider problems. 
One of the most dynamic members of the Cabinet, C. H. 
Bhabha, the Commerce Minister, is to be chairman, and 
H. M. Patel, the Cabinet Secretary, has been seconded 
to him. It will substantially take over the Municipal Ad- 
ministration, .and meet on the same day-to-day basis as 
the parent body, which was in danger of becoming lost 
in a jungle of local detail. 

In order to bring the emergency home to us, Lady 
Mountbalten has very justly imposed austerity on Gov- 
ernment House kitchens. At a dinner-party for our dis- 
tinguished visitors, Lord Listowel* and Sir Gilbert Laith- 
waite, Their Excellencies and guests, with customary cere- 
monial, were regaled with a three-course repast consisting 
of some cabbage-water masquerading as soup, one piece 
of spam and potato, a biscuit and a small portion of 
cheese. Listowel was impressed, but not quite as it was 
perhaps intended he should be, for he asked one of us 
afterwards whether this dinner had been specially laid 
on for his benefit! 

* The Earl of Listowel succeeded Lord Pethick-Lawrence as 
the last Secretary of State for India in April, and Sir Gilbert 
Laithwaite was then his Departmental chief. 




Friday, 12th September, 1947 
This morning's Emergency Committee was a bad meet- 
ing, one Minister defeating its purpose by raising a whole 
series of low-level departmental problems, and another 
simply grinning at his Ministry's lack of office accom- 
modation. No sense of grip was conveyed. It has, for 
instance, taken all day to get a loud-speaker for the 
Purana Oila Fort, which Moslem evacuees in their 
thousands have converted into a veritable ghetto. From 
the account given at the meeting, the Purana Qila situa- 
tion is clearly very grave. Nearly eighty per cent of the 
refugees there have been inoculated, but there is hardly 
any food coming in to them, and without loud-speakers 
it is impossible to impose order upon the confusion or 
create confidence from the prevailing panic. 

This evening at six o'clock Nehru addressed the Diplo- 
matic Corps in the Map Room. This was his first con- 
tact with them s since the onset of the crisis. He spoke 
with telling simplicity and frankness, and made no at-, 
tempt to score debating points or hide behind apologies. 
With the scholar's eye, he related the immediate incid- 
ents of the tragedy to the deeper trends. "The history 
of India", he said, "has been one of assimilation and 
synthesis of the various elements that have come in. . . . 
It is perhaps because we tried to go against the trend of 
the country's history that we are faced with this. ... It is 
for our common good that the situation must be controll- 
ed as soon as possible. Otherwise tremendous injury will 
be done to both Dominions. This is why we have had 
meetings at Ambala, Lahore, etc. Of course it is easier 
to come to conclusions at the conference table than to 
put them into effect, but still it is extremely helpful that 
we have a more or less common policy." 

The assembled Diplomats afterwards expressed their ap- 
preciation of his objective and moderate approach. Hither- 
to they have been without reliable guidance, and this 
should do much to restore their confidence in the regime. 



After the Diplomatic Corps had left J was called in for 
a talk with Nehru and Mountballen on the subject of an 
alleged statement by Tara Singh which was being given 
currency in Pakistan. He is described as using words to 
the effect that "This is war". General Thimayya, Area 
Commander, is to make a report on what really happen- 
ed. Nehru is not unduly disturbed, but Mountbatten 
stressed the peri! of letting inflammatory phrases or reports 
of phrases in the present crisis pass unchecked. 

Nehru then said he proposed to give another Map Room 
talk, this time to the Press, and asked me for guidance 
on the points I thought he should make. I said that he 
should stress the scale of the administrative burden car- 
ried by both the central and Last Punjab Governments; 
and that in urging on the Press the need to look at the 
problem in perspective he should himself help them to 
do so by providing as much authoritative data as possible. 

While we were talking, a telephone call came through 
from Liaquat asking him to come to Lahore for a meet- 
ing on the convoy problem. It is assuming serious pro- 
portions in view of uncertainly about the Sikh attitude to 
a very large Moslem convoy passing through Amrilsar. 
Nehru at first was unwilling lo go to Lahore, saying he 
could see no use in the visit, but Mountbatten pleaded 
with him that it was vital for regular contact between the 
two Prime Ministers to be maintained, and declared that 
the whole reputation of the Government was at stake on 
the successful clearance of this major refugee convoy. 
Nehru, convinced by the force of Mountbatten's argu- 
ment, finally agreed to go, and, on my suggestion, to say 
so at the Press conference. 

Already, at the end of the first week of its existence, 
the Emergency Committee has launched a formidable ad- 
ministrative counter-olfensive against the prevailing chaos. 
It has requisitioned civilian transport, dispatched to Pro- 
vinces and Slates ready to receive them tens of thousands 
of non-Moslem refugees who had cume to Delhi, arrang- 
ed for special trains for Moslems to go lo Pakistan, pro- 


vided guards, called for volunteer constables, arranged 
for the saving and harvesting of crops from deserted lands, 
given orders for the searching, of passengers for arms on 
trains and for the slilfening ot punishments for delinquent 
military and police guards of trains. 

It has cancelled public holidays, including vSundays, 
helped to keep going two newspapers as well as All India 
Radio, arranged tor Government servants to be brought 
to their work and for the telephone system, to be main- 
tained, provided guards for hospitals, arranged for the 
collecting and burying of corpses found in the streets, for 
the movement of food, for the broadcasting of daily offi- 
cial bulletins to the Provinces and for large-scale cholera 
injections. This is but a random selection showing the 
variety and scale of its actions. 

(XWhKNMI.NI HOUSr, N1W Dl.Llll, 

Saturday, JSth September, 1947 
Nehru's Press conference was fairly successful, but he 
spoke a 'little too long and was not quite so convincing as 
to the Diplomats yesterday. He included most of the 
points J was anxious for him to make, but he did not 
punch them home quite hard enough, and gave the im- 
pression of being — as indeed he is- a very tired man. 

Nonc-the-less to see Nehru at close range during this 
ordeal is an inspiring experience. He vindicates one's 
faith in the humanist and the civilised intellect. Almost 
alone in the turmoil of communalism, with all its varia- 
tions, from individual intrigue to mass madness, he speaks 
with the voice of reason and charily. 

The negotiations tor the transfer of power between March 
and August did noi seem to me to evoke his full powers. 
A certain moodiness and outbursts of exasperation were 
the visible signs of overstrain; but now somehow he has 
renewed himself, and in this deeper crisis he is shown 
at his full stature— passionate and courageous, yet objec- 
tive and serene: one of the enlightened elect of our time. 




Sunday, 14th September, 1947 
Moi'ntbatten held a Staff Meeting which was largely 
taken up with the discussion of the Purana Qila situation. 
Patel is apparently on the verge of**deciding to send in a 
battalion in order to round up Moslem arms. Mount- 
batten argues that any such action would be disastrous 
and the surest way to provoke a massacre, and he is at 
a loss to understand how any such order could be serious- 
ly considered. 

At the ten o'clock meeting of the Emergency Council 
Patel mentioned prolonged gunfire from some Delhi 
houses and pressed for action to clear up resistance poc- 
kets. General Lockhart, since 15th August the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, said that he could clear up the whole 
of Delhi in three days if he could concentrate troops on 
this particular job. 

\ had a cood talk with Mountbatten, and found him in 
his usual buoyant mood. He has been seeing British 
troops awaiting repatriation, who told him they hate to sit 
around and watch all this misery, powerless to do any- 
thing about it. So he suggested that N.C.O.'s and men 
should offer their help to organise the camps.* He adds 
that he hopes to* phase himself out of the Emergency 
Committee in about three weeks, first having the meetings 
every other day, and then handing over the chairmanship 
to Nehru. He confessed that he is now thankful that he 

* Their help proved invaluable and enhanced British prestige 
all round. 



took everyone's advice, and did not leave India on 15th 

Ismay is back from Karachi. 1 saw him just before 
he went in to report to Mount batten on his visit. He 
told me it was, lucky he went when he did. He found 
Jinnah claiming to have lost all faith in the Government 
of India and on the point of breaking off diplomatic re- 
lations with it. Of the forty-eight hours lsmay was there 
he was closeted with Jinnah for no less than eleven. He 
was, incidentally, the first guest at Government House 
since the 15th August. He feels that he must have won 
the confidence of Jinnah, who called him to his face "a 
good fellow", and issued him a cordial invitation to come 
and see him whenever he wanted to. 

Apparently Jinnah was full of wrath against Congress, 
saying that he could never understand these men's hatreds 
and was now beginning to feel that there was no alter- 
native but to fight it out. Jsmay said he grappled with 
him, asserting that he was not given to overstatement but 
was ready to stake his life that the Government of India 
were determined to put down the troubles to the best of 
their ability. They were sincere men, and at the full 
stretch in their efforts. Ismay thinks that he has caused 
Jinnah to pause on the brink of precipitate action, but 
that his visit was only just in time. 


Monday, 15th September, 1947 
At this morning's Staff Meeting there was a round-up 
on the general situation arising from Ismay's Karachi visit. 
Mountbatten's analysis is that the Moslems and Hindus 
are at least under the control of their respective Govern- 
ments in approximately equal ratios, but that the Sikhs arc 
uncontrollable and even their leaders afraid of them. 
V.P/s view was that there was no immediate prospect 
of harmony beiween Pakistan and India. Whereupon 
Mountbatten visualised the worst case as war between the 
two Dominions. If harmony is impossible, at least we 


should try to keep as far away from war as possible. 
V.P. felt that even this hope was dissipated, with Jinnah 
in his present frame of mind. 

Mounlbatten asked about Sikh motives. Was the ob- 
jective to set up a Sikh State? V.P. replied no. Poli- 
tically they had lost out, and had not even gained the 
Jullundur division. Their motive was almost entirely re- 
venge. V.P.'s son was operating with three Sikhs who 
had lost their families. Their only objective was two 
Moslem lives for every one of their relatives'. Tara 
Singh, he felt, was essentially a frightened man. 

The Emergency Committee meeting was a little better 
than yesterday's, but still far too much time was taken 
up on small miscellaneous items. Trivedi and the East 
Punjab representatives failed to arrive because of bad 
weather. Nehru reported on his visit to Lahore yesterday, 
and referred to the important decision he and Liaquat had 
taken to stop the hold-ups due to the policy of searching 
refugees for arms before crossing the boundary. But no 
sooner was the meeting over than Liaquat made a speech 
alleging that the Government of India was not carrying 
out arrangements agreed upon, and asserting, "To-day we 
in Pakistan are surrounded on all sides by forces which 
are out to destroy us". 

Eor the past ten days wc have been completely absorb- 
ed in the Punjab cataclysm and the salvage of Delhi. Now 
a new crisis is building up from a wholly unexpected 
quarter. It has come to our notice that Junagadh, one 
of the two hundred and eighty Kathiawar States, failed 
to accede to either Dominion on 15th August, and is 
now proposing to tlo so to Pakistan, Jinnah concurring 
in the act. It is fair to say that in the welter of great 
events immediately before and after the transfer of power 
Junagadh was simply overlooked and, as a result, is now 
bracketed with the two major Stales of Hyderabad and 
Kashmir as being outside Patel's "full bag". 

Junagadh itself is a veritable patchwork quilt. Some 
three thousand three hundred square miles in area, with 


eighty-two per cent of ils seven hundred thousand in- 
habitants Hindu and ils Ruler and Government Moslem, 
it is completely surrounded by Stales which have acceded 
to India. Inside Junagadh are islands of territory from 
these States, and inside these States islands, of Junagadh 
territory. Her railways, ports and telegraphs are an in- 
tegral part of the Indian system. The Nawab is an eccen- 
tric of rare vintage whose preoccupation in life seems to 
be his pet dogs, of which he owns eight hundred, each 
with its own human attendant. On one occasion he or- 
ganised a wedding for two of his dogs, costing three lakhs 
of rupees (twenty-one thousand pounds), and a Stale 
holiday was proclaimed in honour of the event. 

How has all this confusion over Junagadh come about? 
At Mount batten's meeting with the Princes on 25th July 
the then Dcwan asked a series of questions, none of which 
gave any sign of an intention to accede to Pakistan. In- 
deed, he went so far as to advise Mountbattcn that he 
proposed recommending to the Ruler to accede to India. 
Hie Junagadh Government had declared that Junagadh 
would make common cause with the other Kathiawar 
States, all of which have acceded to India. On the 10th 
August, however, just five days before the transfer of 
power, there was a coup d'etat. A group of Sindi Mos- 
lems took over the Government. Shah Nawaz Bhutto- 
became Dewan, and the Nawab a virtual prisoner in his 
own palace. 

It has been freely recognised that the act of accession 
is the prerogative of the Prince. But India's readiness 
to recognise such acts was governed by a lime limit of 
15th August, which was, of course, the basis of Mount- 
batten's urgent appeal to the Princes on 25th July. More- 
over, arising from that speech two other powerful 'factors 
have always been inherent in the choice of accession- 
first, in Mountbatten's own words, certain "geographical 
compulsions which cannot be evaded", and secondly, the 
communal majorities of the Ruler's subjects. 



Although Junagadh has a sea-board and a small port, 
Veraval, and thereby can claim direct access to Karachi, 
it is clear that any final decision by the Prince to accede 
to Pakistan would automatically be a direct challenge to 
the essential validity of the whole accession policy, with 
disastrous effects both upon the Kathiawar States and 
upon the Hyderabad negotiations, where the Moslem ex- 
tremists would be greatly encouraged. Jinnah has clearly 
seen the wider possibilities presented by the Junagadh 
error of omission. No pressure has been put by the 
Government of India on Junagadh to accede, but when the 
likelihood of accession to Pakistan loomed large, two for- 
mal approaches were made by Delhi to Karachi for some 
declaration of Pakistan's intentions. No reply has so 
far been received. 

Mountbatten called me in for meetings he is having 
with Ismay and V.P. on the Junagadh situation. V.P. is 
full of anxiety, and tried to persuade Mountbatten of the 
desirability of making a military and naval demonstration. 
He has prepared a paper based on the assumption that 
Pakistan is ready to help Junagadh with men and money. 

J went round to see Ismay at his house in the evening, 
and found him perturbed by the somewhat feverish at- 
mosphere induced by Junagadh. He considered that the 
Information Report, assessing Pakistan's likely interven- 
tion as a loan of eight crores rupees (some six million 
pounds) for the development of Junagadh's port and a 
garrison of twenty-five thousand troops, could only be 
regarded as childish in the light of her current resources 
and commitments. 


Tuesday, 16th September, 1947 
We are advised that the Junagadh Accession has been 
sealed, signed and delivered to Karachi, but this is not 
yet an official certainty. I was present at a further meet- 
ing which Mountbatten had with Ismay and V.P. Ismay 
spoke with great cogency about Jinnah's probable tactics 



and strategy over Junagadh. Clearly on its face value the 
State is worthless to him. It is an impossible military 
liability. By no stretch of the imagination is it his policy 
to incorporate isolated pockets of Moslems, for there are 
already some forty million of them outside the Pakistan 

Ismay sees the move essentially as one of traps; and 
teasings on Jinnah's part. He hopes by luring India into 
a militant reaction to secure a verdict on legal points and 
to create a valuable precedent for any attitude he may 
care to adopt towards the far greater Princely objectives 
of Kashmir and Hyderabad. For Junagadh is in some 
respects, Hyderabad in miniature — a Moslem Prince and 
oligarchy ruling over a predominantly Hindu State in the 
middle of Indian territory. 

I have prepared the draft communique on the Junagadh 
situation. The Indian case on paper is strong enough, 
but as for possible Press reaction, I have felt obliged to 
give this warning. ''Although the above arguments are 
cogent in themselves, 1 doubt whether they would out- 
weigh the damaging impression that would be created 
with the Foreign Press by joining issue to the point of 
military demonstration at this time. Any such action 
however justified would almost certainly be regarded as 
precipitate and aggressive. The Foreign Press are very 
much on the qui vive for warlike policy on the part of 
the two new Dominions." I urged that from the Public 
Relations viewpoint the immediate step should be no 
more than a straightforward non-recognition statement, the 
Government reserving to itself its future freedom of ac- 
tion, but leaving open the possibility of full negotiation. 

On the Punjab sector of Indo-Pakistan relations Nehru 
has replied with commendable moderation to Liaquat's 
stormy utterances in Lahore. The Indian leaders, he 
declared, had sought to avert Partition, but once it was 
decided upon the Government had tried to discharge faith- 
fully all the obligations flowing from that decision. He 
spoke of derelictions of duty on both sides of the frontier, 



which he and his coJJeagues condemned and were resolved 
to eliminate. 

Al the Fmergency Committee to-day Mountbatten has 
gained his point, and the Committee is now to meet every 
other day. There was an important discussion on the 
Delhi refugees. Dr. Zakir Hussain, chairman of the Mos- 
lem Refugees Committee, gave a disquieting report on 
the current situation, urging lhat the present influx of re- 
fugees into the camps must somehow be stopped. Disease 
was breaking out; there were some fifty thousand already 
in the Purana Qila; sixteen thousand had been moved 
from the Ridge to Humayun's Tomb, but ten thousand 
more had promptly turned up there. 


Wednesday, 17th September, 1947 
Mountbatten had long talks with both Nehru and Palel 
prior to the crucial Cabinet meeting this afternoon on 
Junagadh. He summoned all his powers of persuasion to 
head them off any decision which the world could inter- 
pret as putting India in the wrong, or any commitment 
to an act of war against what was now Pakistan territory. 
He reiterated lsmav's thesis that the whole manoeuvre was 
almost certainly a trap and part of a wider campaign 
which Jinnah might be expected to launch for the express 
purpose of presenting Pakistan to the world as the in- 
nocent weak State threatened by the ruthless aggressor. 
He urged them to stand by the principle of a referendum 
both to discover the people's will and to disavow any in- 
tention of annexing territory. 

Mountbatten had #o difficulty in carrying Nehru with 
him at once, but it took rather longer to persuade Patel, 
whose whole Accession policy, as well as his personal 
emotions, were more closely atTected by Junagadh. How- 
ever he, too, was duly convinced by Mounlbatten's argu- 
ments, and in particular by the impressions Tsmay had 
formed of Jinnah's mood and motives. They both went 
straight into the Cabinet to explain their new point of 



view and, although they must have taken their colleagues 
by surprise, ( understand they soon gained the day for 
a cautious approach. The two decisions of substance taken 
at the meeting were that Indian and local troops of ac- 
ceding States should be disposed round Junagadh but 
should not occupy it, and that V. P. should visit the Slate 
to explain to the Nawab and Dewan the implications of 
their accession to Pakistan. 


Friday, 19th September, 1947 
Liaquat is here as guest of the Government of India. 
It has been agreed under the new dispensation that dis- 
tinguished Government guests should stay with the Go- 

In the afternoon, B. L. Sharma, Unni Nayar and my- 
self met Colonel Majid Malik to try to work out ways 
and means of improving Press facilities and liaison in 
the East and West Punjab. No hint was given to us at 
this meeting that Liaquat had invited a number of Foreign 
correspondents to meet him after dinner to-night in his 
suite at Government House. T may say that Lady Mount- 
batten, somewhat startled by a request for drinks for 
twenty in Liaquat's room after dinner, had asked me 
whether I had any clue as to the reason, f could throw 
no light on the mystery until a few minutes later — B. L. 
Sharma rang me up in some agitation for details about 
Liaquat's kt Press conference". 

The Mountbattens were on the point of going into din- 
ner with their guests, who included both Nehru and Lia- 
quat. T at once pushed through an urgent message. 
"Sharma, who is very worried, advises me that the meet- 
ing is to be confined to Foreign correspondents. He 
thinks it will be exploited by the Tndian Press, who will 
say that the Prime Minister of Pakistan has made Go- 
vernment House a base for propaganda by inviting the 
Foreign Press and omitting them/' I also drew attention 
to the difficulties involved in inviting and selecting re- 



presentatives of the Indian Press at this last moment and 
in keeping the conference wholly off-the-record. In so 
far as I considered the situation to be most embarrassing 
and liable to cause much misunderstanding, 1 felt the best 
solution would be to invite Liaquat to call his party off 
on grounds of pressure of work. 

This message brought the Mountbattens and Nehru 
straight out into the adjoining study, where, with the zest 
of a schoolboy, Mountbatten said he would tackle Liaquat 
over dinner if, and only if, Nehru would agree to play his 
part by converting the occasion into a joint off-the-record 
session, in which case he himself was prepared to take 
the chair. The meeting should be put back half an hour, 
and I was to gather in a limited last-minute list of Indian 
correspondents. Nehru, I think, derived almost aesthetic 
satisfaction from the beauty of this plan and his usually 
sad expression gave way to a smile and the hint of a 
wink. At all events he found Mountbatten's proposal 
irresistible, as Liaquat did over dinner! 

The conference itself was a tremendous success, and al- 
though no word of it could be quoted, it brought fresh 
hope and faith at a decisive moment to correspondents 
many of whom were seriously beginning to wonder 
whether any will to peace was to be found at any level 
within the two Dominions. 

Mountbatten got the proceedings off to a good start. 
The two Prime Ministers, he said, had come together be- 
cause there was much common ground between them. 
"That is not to say that cither wants to help the other Do- 
minion for its own sake, but both know that unless they 
come to grips with th*e difficulties confronting them there 
is danger of anarchy that will be disastrous to both." 

Nehru stressed that in spite of all the developments of 
the past few months, the main problem was economic. 
"The other trouble will pass, but this we must solve or 
it will solve or dissolve us." The talk of war that was 
going around was "completely wild and absurd. If war 



should come all our dreams of prosperity would collapse 
for a generation." 

Liaquat was no less explicit. "1 agree that talk of war 
is absurd," he said; "if war should come it would be 
ruinous to both India and Pakistan; even more, it would 
mean another world war. None can contemplate that with 
equanimity. Pakistan wants peace for all nations but es- 
pecially with India. We are, after all, two parts of the 
subcontinent. We could never dream of waging war 
against India." 

Bob Trumbull, of the New York Times, asked Nehru 
how the immediate psychological problem was to be 
solved? "The first thing," Nehru replied, "is to reduce 
fear, the most enervating of emotions. Once we have 
done that we can get on with other things, and the normal 
factors of life will resume operation." Nehru was asked 
if he was satisfied that he had complete control of his 
Government for the implementation of his policy, and 
if the British were doing all they could to help? Were 
both the Prime Ministers satisfied that the other Govern- 
ment was doing all in its power to remedy the situation? 

Nehru responded with a brief dissertation on London 
School of Economies lines. "I am not satisfied with any- 
thing in India, and have not been for thirty years. Of 
course we must meet the situation in every way we can, 
partly by psychology and partly by force. If I may draw 
on my Socialist background, what is happening now is to 
a large extent an upheaval in the lower middle classes — 
the classes that first supported Hitler. When society is 
upset, strange elements come to the surface. Sometimes 
these are fascist or fascist-inclined. These groups take ad- 
vantage of the situation. Undoubtedly there has been a 
communal trend in what has happened, but the Uend now 
is away from killings and towards increased looting. There 
are instances of Sikhs looting Sikh shops, Hindus looting 
Hindu property and Moslems looting Moslems. In a sense 
this is worse, but in another way it is a hopeful sign. It 



is something we can deal with by persuasion or force, and 
that is* the way we must deal with it." 

Liaquat showed himself to be in general agreement with 
this thesis. The only qualification he made was in reply 
to a question to them both as to how these "brown-shirt" 
elements were to be combatted and the initiative taken 
back from them. "J don't agree," Liaquat said, "that 
the young elements in the Moslem League have the initia- 
tive. Besides, we are taking steps to restore discipline in 
the League. That is the important point." Asked if the 
two Dominions would welcome foreign capital and techni- 
cal assistance in the task of recovery from this disruption, 
Nehru replied, "Of course we shall welcome foreign capi- 
tal and technical assistance for our development but not 
foreign vested interest". To which Liaquat added, "Same 
for us". 

Everyone went away feeling that the two Prime Minis- 
ters had risen above prevailing hatreds and shown them- 
selves to be men of constructive outlook and compatible 
temperament. In the last analysis they were both moder- 
ates who had drunk deep of Western thought, and who 
were more effectively inoculated than some of their col- 
leagues against l he communal virus. 


Saturday, 20th September, 1947 
Constitutional Governor-Generalship brings no respite, 
and Mountbatten seems fated to have to juggle with three 
or four crises at once. Jn the midst of all the preoccupa- 
tions with the Punjab and Junagadh, Walter Moncklon 
has just arrived at government House with the rest of 
the Hyderabad delegation- -spokesmen of the Nizam's 
strange statecraft— for a further meeting with Mount- 
batten. The Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen — the extremist Mos- 
lem organisation in the State, which has been playing an 
increasingly powerful role in the formation of Hydera- 
bad's policy since the transfer of power — got to work 
again on the Nizam while he was in a recalcitrant mood 



in a further effort to secure Monckton's removal. Monck- 
ton was in Delhi at the time, but after he had returned 
to warn the Council of the perils of a breakdown and of 
his own intention of leaving immediately for England, the 
Illehad at the last minute seems to have been somewhat 
frightened by its own handiwork, and to have pleaded 
with him in forcible terms that if he were to leave them 
now it would be a disaster. Mounlbatten is still hopeful 
that all will be well, even though little more than three 
weeks is left of the two months extension. 

At to-day's meeting, which V. P. attended, the delega- 
tion stressed the importance attached by the Nizam to 
the distinction between accession and association. Acces- 
sion, they felt, would lead to bloodshed. They were also 
frightened of interference from outside. Both Mounlbatten 
and V. P. gave assurances that their fears were without 
substance, that the Indian Government had behaved cor- 
rectly, and that its resources were at the Ruler's disposal 
if required to deal with disturbances. Mounlbatten warn- 
ed that unless agreement could be reached by the 15ih 
October, breakdown must be envisaged, which would, he 
thought, be serious enough for India, but even more so 
for Hyderabad. The delegation has depositee! some Heads 
of Agreement which are designed more to keep the ball 
in play than to decide the match. 

Monckton said afterwards that he felt there was no 
fundamental difference of approach between Mountbatten 
and himself. He would continue to look for the formula 
which would allow statutory independence for Hydera- 
bad, and which, while containing no direct reference to 
the word "accession", would incorporate it on a de facto 
basis. Hyderabad, he added, was in no position to play 
the role of the fullv fledged sovereign State. Provided the 
negotiations do not break down completely, he thinks that 
the Nizam will press him to stay on a little longer, but his 
decision to do so or not depends upon whether he can 
see a reasonable hope of achieving a compromise. If 
there is any such prospect he feels he ought to stay, if 



only because peace and order in the State may largely 
depend on his availability. But if not, it would be useless 
for him to remain. Both the Nizam and his Government 
are very volatile statesmen, pursuing a very inconsistent 
and wavering line of policy. 




Sunday, 21st September, 1947 
This morning at 7.15 a party of sixteen left Palam air- 
field by the Governor-General's Dakota to make a round 
tour of some four hundred miles over the routes of the 
great refugee migrations between the East and West Pun- 
jab. The Government House party included the Mount- 
battens, Ismay, Vernon and myself. The Government 
witnesses were Nehru, Patel, Neogy, Rajkumari Amrit 
Kaur, General Lockhart, H. M. Patel and Shankar. As 
we approached the Ravi we had our first aerial vision of 
the scale of this desperate exodus. We were looking 
down on one of the greatest movements of population in 
recorded history, and then only on a small segment of it. 

Hindus, Sikhs and Moslems have before now, in res- 
ponse to some crisis, gathered up their worldly goods and 
moved away, but these earlier treks were usually limited 
to one community, and there was always the expectation 
that the wanderers^ would ultimately come back to their 
home-land. To-day, however, there is this difference: 
the numbers on the move are incomparably greater than 
ever before, and this time there will be no return. 

We struck the first great caravanserai between Feroze- 
pur and Balloki Head, and pursued it far across the Ravi. 
We flew, in fact, for over fifty miles against this stream 
of refugees without reaching its source. Every now and 



then the density of bullock-carts and families on foot 
keeping to the thin life-line of the road would tail away, 
only to fill out again in close columns without end. 

At Balloki Head, the actual boundary, the refugees 
waiting to cross the bridge overflowed and took on the 
appearance of a squatters' township. Here they had been 
brought to a standstill, but the general movement was 
very slow, and we could see men on horseback passing 
up and down who seemed to be giving some coherence, 
if not command, to the closely packed mass. At the 
roadside some families were flanked by their cattle, in 
many cases their only worldly asset, but few, if any, 
would be able to pass their livestock across the bridge. 
Already the flow of human traffic across it was beyond 
any conceivable capacity for which it had been built. 

As we flew back into India we came down low over 
the northernmost of the Moslem refugee convoys making 
its slow and painful way along the main Lyallpur-Lahore 
road. Their exodus brought them across the Beas River, 
and involved an elaborate detour to save them from pass- 
ing through Amritsar. We estimated that it took us just 
over a quarter of an hour to fly from one end to the other 
of this particular column at a flying speed of about a 
hundred and eighty miles per hour. This column there- 
fore must have been at least forty-five miles long. 

At the conference on Sunday, Nehru and Liaquat had 
told us how, to begin with, they had set their faces against 
any wholesale transfer of populations, but how events 
had rapidly become too large for them and had dictated 
the course of their policy. 

To-day we saw for ourselves something of the stupend- 
ous scale of the Punjab upheaval. Even our brief bird's- 
eye view must have revealed nearly half a million refugees 
on the roads. At one point during our flight Sikh and 
Moslem refugees were moving almost side by side in op- 
posite directions. There was no sign of clash. As though 
impelled by some deeper instinct, they pushed forward 
obsessed only with the objective beyond the boundary. 




Monday, 22rui September, 1947 

At this morning's Emergency Committee, Cabinet 
Ministers took a rather firmer and more urgent view than 
hitherto or the need to defend refugee trains. Tn the past 
few hours reports have come in of no fewer than four 
serious attacks on refugee trains, two on Moslems in .lul- 
lundur and at the Beas bridge and two on non-Moslems 
in the Lahore area. There was anxious discussion on the 
measures needed to tackle these bestial outrages. 

During his visit Liaquat had referred to one train start- 
ing off with two thousand passengers, of whom only seven 
hundred had arrived at the other end, and of another 
completely lacking in any water supplies for a three-day 
journey. As in all these train horror stories, there is the 
usual factual confusion and difficulty in securing reliable 
data. In the meanwhile rumours fan hatreds. 

One encouraging factor is that both the Governments 
of the United Provinces and East Punjab are showing 
strength in their resolve to tackle the disorders. Collective 
fines on villages which are known to be involved in these 
attack* are being imposed and levied within twenty-four 
hours. Should night trains be abandoned? In the effort 
to provide protection for passengers at night, sizeable 
Army contingents were involved. During one of the in- 
cidents several officers and sixty-four men had been en- 
gaged in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle. 

As the debate continued. Mount batten raised the wider 
issues- -the need for establishing the proper priorities be- 
tween the general maintenance of law and order and the 
rapid movement of refugees. He went further, and asked 
what was to be done after the refugee movement was 
over. More troubles might easily flow from failure to 
tackle these questions with the utmost urgency and on 
an all-Jndia basis. We must know now what the plans 
for them arc, and planning meant what is being done not 
only for to-day, but for next week and far beyond. Where 
will they go? Will it be an orderly settlement? Will it 



be dominated by black market, corruption and squeeze? 
This raised one of the greatest administrative probJcms 
in history. In a few days the head of the great fifty-mile 
column would have crossed the border. They were leav- 
ing the rich colony district of the Punjab. They were not 
going to a Promised Land. Their new home was superior 
only in that it provided physical safety. 

Matthai said that the first two phases of the refugee 
problem — where to move them on arrival and how to 
feed them for the next six months --were the most diffi- 
cult. The longer-term planning, he felt, was relatively 
easier. What arrangements, he asked, had been made 
for getting in the next harvest? Neogy said that many 
refugees had been attracted by the standing crops, and 
were spreading out to gather them. Some fifty thousand 
had already done so. He added that he was drawing up 
a scheme for collective farming. But. Mountbatten warn- 
ed, there are at least two hundred thousand rcfueees in 
the convoy we saw yesterday, and immediate feeding 
arrangements will be needed for them. Patel remarked 
that there was three months' food in the East Punjab, 
but that the distribution of it was the real problem. 

During this prolonged discussion Ismay whispered to 
me that all this really should be thrashed out in Cabinet 
committee under the Prime Minister's chairmanship; but 
I must say that I am inclined to think that it still needs 
Mountbatten's presence to provide the sense of urgency 
and establish the correct priorities. 


Tuesday, 23rd September, 1947 
To-day's biggest development has been Jinnah's appeal 
to the Commonwealth to intervene in Pakistan's disputes 
with India. Nehru has apparently written a moderate and 
statesman-like reply. As with all Jinnalfs major policy 
decisions, it would seem to be carefully timed and to 
coincide significantly with reports that have been reach- 
ing me from Foreign correspondents of an upsurge of 


anti-British feeling and comment in Pakistan. These in- 
clude newspaper attacks on British officers on much the 
same lines as in India, assertions that the present troubles 
are mainly due to a British-Banya alliance, and criticism 
of Mountbatten himself, who is alleged to be disgruntled 
at not having achieved the double Governor-Generalship. 
It is noted that these themes are not discouraged in high 
places, and that the formation of public opinion on such 
matters is in the hands of very few. I get the impression 
that with his approach to the Commonwealth, which can 
only be a source of embarrassment in all the Dominion 
capitals, Jinnah may well be over-playing his hand. India, 
however, is in danger of doing just the same thing over 
Junagadh. The Jam Sahib of Nawanagar has just in- 
dulged in a bellicose Press conference calling for "coats 
otf" and "no non-resistance", etc. 

The Amritsar situation is still very grave. Cholera has 
broken out, and the train attacks continue. Yesterday's 
decision to cancel all trains passing by Amritsar has been 
discussed to-day at the highest level, and Nehru, after 
consultations with Mountbatten, has confirmed that the 
decision is still in force. Telephonic communication with 
Amritsar is very difficult, but I succeeded on behalf of 
the Associated Press of India, who had been completely 
baffled in their attempts to get through, in securing from 
their local correspondent the text of a joint Peace Appeal 
from the two Sikh leaders, Tara Singh and Oodham Singh. 
Without Government House priorities, the "Appeal" 
might have been indefinitely delayed, but high import- 
ance was placed both by Mountbatten and Government 
circles on its rapid publication. The tone of their langu- 
age had, in keeping with their patriarchal appearance, 
much more of an Old than New Testament ring about 
it. After boldly denouncing shameful attacks upon women 
and children, they added fiercely, "We do not desire 
friendship of the Moslems, and we may never befriend 
them. We may have to fight again, but we shall fight a 
clean fight, man killing man." 



What effect this crude appeal will have on their follow- 
ers it is difficult for anyone who has not made a close 
study of Sikh psychology to say. Both are undoubtedly 
big men in the complicated hierarchy of Sikh religious 
politics. The trouble is that the situation, as at other 
moments of supreme crisis in Sikh history, seems to have 
passed out of control of the leaders. Billy Short explain- 
ed to me how the essence of the teaching of Guru Nanak, 
the founder of Sikhism, was "Where five of you are 
gathered together, there am 1." The Sikh tradition, ac- 
cordingly, is one of cell formation and spontaneous local 
leadership. Here is the source at once of Sikh strength 
and weakness. In the higher reaches of command the 
prevailing atmosphere is one of indiscipline and intrigue, 
and Short considers that authority is passing from the 
older leaders, such as Tara, Oodham and Giani Kartar 
Singh, to a number of younger men, chiefly ex-rndian 
National Army officers. 

The Sikh leaders are at great pains to describe the 
Hindus as their brothers, but there are not many out- 
ward signs of brotherly love, and Tara Singh has been 
almost equally vehement in his dissatisfaction with the 
East as with the West Punjab Government. Jf Partition 
has meant immense economic sacrifice for the Sikhs, it 
also entails political concentration. Lying within easy 
reach of Delhi, they may comprise after the mass migra- 
tion some fifty per cent of the total population of the new 
East Punjab Province. 

Informed observers see in this situation all the ingredi- 
ents of a Sikh nationalist movement, and consider that 
already the solution which has been mooted of creating 
a new Indian province of Sikhistan fails to measure up to 
Sikh demands. One complication, however, is the attitude 
and status of the Sikh Princes. Led by the Maharaja of 
Patiala, they can be expected to co-operate more willing- 
ly with the Government of India, and are far from en- 
thusiastic about the aims of the Sikh party leaders. They 



may well hold the balance of power in this obscure 

Billy Short has been working with the energy of a 
beaver to secure a Sikh-Moslem truce, and there is to be 
a meeting at Lahore to-morrow at which it is hoped Tara 
Singh will be present, lsmay is ready to play a mediating 
role should the occasion warrant it. 


Wednesday, 24th September, 1947 
At to-day's Emergency Committee there was another 
general discussion of policy on refugee movements. Chetty 
urged that top priority should be given to the clearing of 
Delhi, and went so far as to say that he wanted refugees 
to be stopped from coming into the city, and all non-Delhi 
refugees - Moslem and non-Moslem — already in to be en- 
couraged to leave. Nehru turned to the need for the rapid 
creation of the new East Punjab capital city. He was 
convinced that there were many who would want to go 
to-day, a large proportion of them people of substance. 

Palel, the administrative realist, argued that top priority 
should be given to keeping the trains going and to the 
evacuation of the refugee camps, which he said were "re- 
servoirs of discontent". Mountbatten believed that an 
even more urgent problem than the resumption of the 
trains was the slowness of the progress of the refugee 
columns and the need to get them movinc asain. He went 
on to say that there was still. far too high a premium on 
lawlessness. We must reassert the civic sense. As far as 
he knew, there was still no single instance of a trial either 
for murder or arson committed during the present trou- 
bles. There was also, he felt, the failure of the hitherto 
famous Intelligence system. What steps were being taken 
to remedy this? 

Disquieting reports have been reaching Mountbatten 
about the morale and treatment of British officers. They 
have had to tackle overwhelming disturbances while lack- 
ing the military power or civil support from either side to 



suppress them. The feeling has grown that their effort is 
entirely unrecognised. They have had to serve without 
the basic amenities, particularly mail. Mount batten and 
Ismay have both been pressing Nehru and Jinnah to issue 
statements paying tributes to their work. Jinnah replied 
frankly that he considered the reference he made in his 
speech at the banquet in Karachi on 13th August was 

The problem has now become acute as a result of a 
statement to-day made by the influential Liberal leader 
Pandit Kunzru, who is reported as saying that had British 
officers acted impartially, the situation would probably 
have been brought under control in the East Punjab. He 
also alleged that a British officer had been responsible for 
not preventing a large number of casualties in the Sheik- 
hupura massacre at the end of August. JVlountbatlen rang 
Nehru at once about these grave allegations, pointing out 
that the statement as reported was both untrue and libell- 
ous, and that unless it was immediately refuted the posi- 
tion of British officers in the Indian Army would become 
unbearable. Nehru promised to make an early statement. 
Whereupon Gandhi intervened to suggest that perhaps a 
better way would be for Kunzru himself to make a public 
retraction. Jsmay, however, is not satisfied with this solu- 
tion, which in his view meets the demand of Indian but 
not of British opinion, and he has persuaded, Nehru to 
issue a statement based on reliable evidence which cate- 
gorically denies that the culprit at Sheikhupura was of 
British nationality. The whole incident shows that good- 
will is still a delicate plant, but one which Nehru is al- 
ways ready to nourish. 


Friday. 26th September, 1947 
Unwittingly Gandhi seems to have added to the gene- 
ral tension, for during his Prayer Meeting this evening he 
made passing reference to the possibility of war with 
Pakistan in an address otherwise wholly devoted to his 



worship of God as truth and non-violence, but the phrase 
in question, "If Pakistan persistently refuses to see its 
proved error and continues to minimise it the Indian Gov- 
ernment would have to go to war against it," has touch- 
ed a raw nerve, and undoubtedly aroused intense and 
almost scared speculation among the Press, and will al- 
most certainly find its way into the world's headlines to- 


Saturday, 27th September, 1947 
Mountbatten received a letter the other day from a Mr. 
Karda, pointing out the difficulties listeners to the All 
India Radio were experiencing in hearing the programmes 
and recordings of Mahatma Gandhi's words at his 
Prayer Meetings. This has led Mountbatten, who feels 
that these daily messages, with the exception of yester- 
day's, on which he immediately tackled Gandhi, are one 
of the great factors for the creation of confidence and 
sanity, to raise the matter with Gandhi personally, and 
to instruct me to follow it up in more detail. The out- 
come is that [ have had a revealing and, 1 think, valu- 
able talk with Gandhi ji at Birla House this afternoon. 

As I came into the room he was busy writing a note, 
and did noj look up. When he did so he coughed rather 
heavily, "See — this is how I greet you!" I had been told 
during the morning that the interview would have to be 
postponed. But he now explained that the message that 
1 should not come had been sent without his authority, 
and that he had it altered, as he was not so ill that he 
could not talk to rile. He said that Mountbatten had 
not actually discussed with him the possibility of his mak- 
ing a studio broadcast, but had merely handed over the 
letter from Mr. Karda at the end of their last talk, sug- 
gesting that 1 should explain the position to him. 

I began by pointing out that the broadcast reception 
of his Prayer Meetings was by no means satisfactory. 
The great listening audience eagerly awaiting his guidance 



were not always hearing very much of what he v said. Often 
not more than one word in five came through. A num- 
ber of special problems were involved in maintaining the 
audibility of outside broadcasts. There was the extra- 
neous noise of the meeting itself. No doubt it was 
necessary at times for the Mahatma to turn his head away 
from the microphone. I did not add that his voice was 
very low and his tempo very fast. I pointed out that 
although wireless was a tremendously powerful medium 
for direct contact with the mass as individuals, very few 
of the world's leaders had fully exploited it. 1 consider- 
ed that it would greatly help in pacifying public opinion 
if he could be prevailed upon to make a studio broadcast 
over All India Radio. 

Gandhi's initial reaction was against the idea. "To 
make a set speech in a studio would be for me theatrical, 
f need to express myself through a living audience, 
whether it consists of five, or five lakhs." I explained 
that it was not necessary for him to go to a studio, and 
that the broadcast could be made just as well where he 
was sitting now in the form of a dialogue with his friends. 
He returned to his objection that the speech would have 
to be prepared in advance. This was contrary to his 
method of speaking spontaneously what was in his mind. 

I replied that although a set script within a time limit 
was the normal procedure for radio talks, in his case, 
with his tremendous authority, the deepest* impression 
would be conveyed if he spoke extempore for as long as 
he liked. He said he had often passed All India Radio, 
which he understood was one of the most up to date, 
even by European standards, but he had never been inside. 
He assumed that 1 had in mind only one special broad- 
cast. I replied that I had not presumed to suggest more, 
but if he could be prevailed upon to speak periodically, 
T was sure that the impact on opinion would be even 
greater. "J have never really given full consideration to 
talking over the wireless," he said. "I would like two 
or three days to ponder over the arguments you have put 


forward. There are many hurdles to jump before I can 
make up my mind, but I think you have jumped over 
the first of them." 

He then turned to wider themes. He said that what 
worried him most was that the trouble here in Delhi and 
the Punjab seemed to be deeper. He was unwilling to 
admit that his and Suhrawardy's influence had been deci- 
sive in Calcutta, and would not in fact feel confident 
about his own influence unless he achieved a measure of 
success here. He described in detail how he and Suhra- 
wardy had started on their joint enterprise in Calcutta. 
Suhrawardy had shown great courage and endurance. His 
appearance in Gandhi's Ashram was a dramatic depar- 
ture from the comfortable mode of life to which he was 
accustomed. By pledging himself on behalf of the Mos- 
lem minority, he had willingly accepted both discomfort 
and danger. 

f suggested that the difference, perhaps, between Cal- 
cutta and Delhi was that he had been present in Calcutta 
to grip the crisis at the outset, whereas he had only ar- 
rived here when the troubles, were in full Hood. He said 
that this was not wholly true. There had already been 
quite a long sequence of disturbances before he and 
Suhrawardy set to work. The fact was that somehow 
the atmosphere in Calcutta was favourable to his influ- 
ence; but here at present it was not. He spoke of the 
angry man <who had asked him the day before how it was 
that if he really was a Mahatma and a miracle-worker 
he could not put matters right : "I dealt with him yester- 
day, as you no doubt saw." Gandhiji said he was pro- 
foundly anxious ab#»ut the communal situation. Unless 
checked, the climax could only be that no Moslem could 
regard himself as safe living in India and no Sikh or Hindu 
in Pakistan. 

During the latter part of our talk Rajkumari Amrit 
Kaur and the famous Miraben (Miss Slade) came in, 
and a young girl throughout took a full note of the con- 
versation. Of his Calcutta adventure— one of the most 



dramatic achievements of his life — he had spoken with 
real zest. Clearly the incongruity of his association with 
Suhrawardy had appealed to his ever-present sense of 
humour. His eyes sparkled as he described the details 
of their joint bargain. One docs not come away with 
the impression of a very old man in his dotage, or even 
anecdotage, but of one who lives with the intensity of 
youth and retains the boyish sense of fun which tragedy 
and the passing of time cannot wither. 


Sunday, 2tith September, 1947 
Throughout my talk with Gandhi yesterday he showed 
himself to be wholly unperturbed by the stir which his 
Prayer-Meeting reference to war had produced. Speak- 
ing again last night, he was at great pains to put the 
phrase into perspective, as he had promised Mountbatten 
he would. Gandhian dialectic claimed that indication of 
when a cause for war could arise between the two States 
was designed not to promote war but to avoid it as far 
as possible. His final plea was simply, "India knows, 
and the world should know, that every ounce of my 
energy has been and is being directed to the definite 
avoidance of fratricide culminating in war". This is un- 
doubtedly the truth, but so great is his influence that his 
words assume a prophetic and almost mesmeric power. 
The concept of war is so repugnant to his nature that the 
use of the word at all by him was bound to be given 
special significance by the Press and public. 

Sir Archibald Carter, the Permanent Under-Secretary 
of the Commonwealth Relations Office, is at Government 
House on the last lap of a big Eastern tour he has been 
making. The idea has been mooted that Ismay should 
return home with him to give a personal report oif deve- 
lopments here since the transfer of power. Mountbatlen 
considers that such a visit is urgently needed at this time, 
if London is to see the critical first six weeks of Independ- 
ence in their proper perspective. Moreover, he called 


me in this afternoon to say that he thought I could once 
again usefully supplement Ismay's contribution to enlight- 
enment by giving background guidance to my various con- 
tacts. Relations between the British correspondents in 
Delhi and the new Government have been far from happy, 
and some objective third-party view might well be of help 
to London editors. Indeed, it has already been neces- 
sary for me to invoke Mounlbatten's help in promoting 
better understanding. He took the chair at a meeting 
at Government House on Friday between Nehru and Patel 
and representatives of the Foreign correspondents to dis- 
cuss the growing list of outstanding grievances. After 
some plain speaking on both sides, an immediate break- 
down was averted and dangerous suspicions largely dissi- 


Monday, 29th September, 1941 
Mountbatten's day has been taken up with important 
policy conferences over Junagadh and the Punjab. The 
Junagadh crisis looks more and more like a highly ex- 
plosive game of chess, with the State, its neighbours and 
satellites providing the chequer-board, and Karachi and 
Delhi moving the pieces. Tsmay, from the conversations 
he had with Liaquat during his last visit to Delhi, is 
quite convinced that Pakistan's strategy is to use the whole 
Junagadh contest as a bargaining counter for Kashmir. 
This interpretation is borne out by a significant remark 
Liaquat made to Mountbatten on the same visit. "All 
right," he told him. "Let India go ahead and commit 
an act of war, ancf see what happens." 

The first move was V.P.'s visit to the State ten days 
ago, which produced only limited results. He met the 
Dewan, who told him that the Nawab was indisposed, 
and therefore could not see him. However, the Sheikh 
of the small State of Mangrol, which up to the transfer 
of power had been under the suzerainty of Junagadh, used 
the occasion of V.P.'s presence in the neighbourhood to 



get away from his own State and voluntarily to accede 
to India, thus following Babariawad, which had already 
acceded. But the Sheikh, on his return to Mangrol, 
which coincided with V.P.'s to Delhi, found himself ob- 
liged to renounce his accession. On the 22nd the Gov- 
ernment of India decided that the circumstances in which 
the letter of renunciation was written were such as to 
justify them ignoring it. Junagadh followed up this 
bloodless victory over Mangrol by sending troops into 

These developments were near enough to a checkmate 
to infuriate Patel, who considers that an act of war has 
already been committed by Junagadh in sending troops 
to Babariawad, and that India should take all the neces- 
sary steps to oust them. Indeed, unless there is a show 
of strength and readiness in the last resort to use it, he is 
ready to resign. Just as Kashmir is close to Nehru's 
heart, so Junagadh is part of Patel's homeland. It is 
easy to dismiss this as mere provincialism, but it is neces- 
sary always to remind oneself that the concept of India 
as a nation is by European standards of geography and 
population considerably larger than life. 

Mountbatten wrote to Nehru yesterday making the dis- 
tinction between the planning of and preparation for mili- 
tary operations and their actual execution, stressing that 
a direct conflict between the two Dominions would not 
only undermine their moral reputation, but also put their 
physical survival in deadly peril. This advice is accept- 
able from Mountbatten. Unfortunately, the three Chiefs 
of Staff, who are all British, in their appreciation of the 
Junagadh situation, have quite independently underlined 
the Governor-General's estimate of the danger to a point 
where they have clearly overstepped the boundary be- 
tween military and political advice. Thus further fuel 
has been added to Patel's indignation. 

To avoid any further confusion of this nature, while 
at the same time to minimise the general risk of false 
decision and precipitate action by the Government, 



Mountbatten has recommended the establishment of a 
Defence Committee of the Cabinet. Within this context 
he has in mind ancillary committees such as the Chiefs 
of Staff Committee, Joint Intelligence and Joint Planning 
Committees; but he has at the same time propounded 
one vital modification of the British practice in which 
ihe Chief of the Imperial General Staff is wholly divorced 
from Operational Command. He has insisted that India 
would do better to adopt procedure whereby from each 
of the three Services one and the same officer should 
double the role of Commander-in-Chief and Chief of 
Staff. Nehru and Patel approved this idea, and lsmay 
has been asked to draft a paper elaborating its organisa- 
tion in time for to-morrow's Cabinet. 

As for Junagadh, Mountbatten has urged an interme- 
diate course which allows for military reinforcement to 
continue, bul only in undisputed territory around the State. 
He has also asked that I.iaqual should be advised of the 
scope and nature of all impending troop movements to 
Kalhiawar. finally he wants a clear public statement 
that India will accept the verdict of the popular will in 
all States where accession is in dispute. 

He raised some big questions this morning. Transla- 
tion from central to provincial spheres of duty may well 
have been behind his plaintive plea that k4 No paper plans 
work out". He says covered accommodation for at least 
live lakhs (five hundred thousand) will be needed this 
winter, and he posed the problem whether this covered 
accommodation should have priority over the use of vil- 
lage schools and homes. Building resources do not allow 
of proceeding at full throttle with both. He wants the 
new hast Punjab Capital to be designed to hold a million 
people. He agrees that it should start from scratch. 
Mountbatten strongly advised that whatever land is se- 
lected should be fro/en and no freeholds allowed, other- 
wise it would become a speculators' paradise. 

Trivedi next uirned to the security of the canals along 
the Indo-Pakistan boundary. The standstill agreement 



by which they have been controlled since 15th August 
is not working. Shots have been fired on workers. Who 
is responsible? Surely not the Pakistan Army? General 
Lockhart said the Pakistan Army was undoubtedly in a 
state of alert and expecting immediate invasion from the 
Bast Punjab. Trivedi replied that he had been expecting 
an identical attack from the West. Somehow confidence 
must be re-established. The proposal is that there should 
be a twice-weekly meeting with Mudie, the West Punjab 
Governor, the two Prime Ministers and the Area Com- 

The train situation was discussed. The trouble-centre 
is now between Ludhiana and Amritsar, and there have 
been serious breakdowns along the main-line East route. 
Some of the Sikh Princes are adding to Trivedi's difficul- 
ties. Kapurthala pushed a column of refugees from his 
State into the main column without warning the East 
Punjab Government, and there were heavy casualties from 
starvation, while there has been a similar ruthless removal 
of Moslems from Faridkot. 

At lunch to-day Trivedi told us that Sikhs and Moslems 
pass each other on the road and show fraternal unity in 
criticising their own Governments! I sat next to Mr. 
Thapar, an East Punjab Government official, who has been 
making a close study of the whole casualty position. It 
is, of course, notorious that refugees, principal victims of 
atrocities, make very unreliable eye-witnesses. When- 
ever it has been possible to check the facts, the assess- 
ment of casualties by eye-witnesses has proved to be in- 
flated more than a hundred-fold. 

In Mr. Thapar's considered view it is most unlikely 
that the total casualties of killed and wounded will turn 
out to be more than one per cent of the total population 
in the area of disturbance. 

The troubles which had in fact started in Rawalpindi 
and Mooltan in March 1947, causing major migrations 
and continuing thereafter, came to a head with the trans- 
fer of power. Lahore was reported as out of control, 

M. M. — 9 



with one per cent of the town on fire, by 14th August; 
by the 15th twelve per cent was reported to be in flames. 
The storm then passed to Amritsar. 

Under prevailing conditions Simla was wholly imprac- 
ticable as the administrative centre, so, in spite of the 
lack of physical facilities, he decided to move to Jullundur 
because the situation could be more easily controlled from 

The first policy concept was to try to stop mass eva- 
cuation. His own tour between the 15lh and 27th August 
had been devoted to that end. By the 28th he had the 
feeling that the situation was in hand. Then followed 
the massacre of Sheikhupura in the West Punjab. There 
were varying estimates of the casualties there. Mudie 
put them at three hundred, but the Army situation report 
gave the minimum figures as between seven hundred and 
eight hundred. There was a violent reaction in Amritsar. 
With this, Trivedi said, the realisation came to him that 
a major transfer of population was inevitable. From that 
day to this he has been trying lo carry this policy through 
and to keep his Ministers up lo the mark. 


Tuesday, BOth September, 1947 
A meeting has duly taken place of the Prime Minister, 
Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers of Defence and Finance 
and the Minister without Portfolio. It described itself as 
a Provisional Defence Committee, and then approved its 
own permanent composition and functions, receiving full 
Cabinet approval later in the day. The three Service 
Commanders-in-Chief, who are now automatically Chiefs 
of Staff of their <fwn Services as well, are to attend all its 
meetings. Mountbatten has been invited to take the chair 
in a personal capacity k4 in view of his knowledge and ex- 
perience ot high military matters". 

Whatever the risks of misrepresentation across the bor- 
der, this development is a notable victory for moderation 
and sane counsel. The Defence Committee instrument 



and Mountbatten's guidance freely invited and informally 
given cannot fail to serve as a restraining influence at a 
time of great stress, when passions are clouding judge- 
ment and the price of experience is high. 

For the past three weeks the Emergency Committee 
of the Cabinet serving as the chosen instrument for im- 
mediate high level decision has directed all the agencies 
of this new-born and stricken Government. It has been 
artificiaPrespiration, and not wholly scientific in method, 
but the heart of India has continued to beat. The crisis, 
after reaching its peak in Delhi, the East Punjab, and 
Northern India as a whole, slowly but surely begins to 
ebb. Every morning we have anxiously watched the 
flags in the Map Room to see if the reported tension in 
the United Provinces, in such cities as Lucknow and 
Cawnpore, would burst out into a fresh orgy of killings, 
but the firm action of the Provincial Governments but- 
tressed by support at the Centre has somehow held the 
movement of refugees along the Punjab-United Provinces 
border. There has, of course, been a wider dispensation 
- the frenzy having spent its first destructive force — dis- 
ease and famine, which by all the laws of probability 
should have exacted the final penalty, by the deeper laws 
of providence have so far passed over without doing so. 
As far as human effort is concerned special credit is due 
to those responsible for health and food services on both 
sides of the border. A prodigious number of cholera in- 
jections, vaccinations and other inoculations have been 
carried out. India has flown large supplies of cholera 
vaccines to Pakistan. The works of mercy and healing 
shine out in the communal darkness. 




Wednesday, 1st October, 1947 
We are leaving for London in two days' time. In the 
meanwhile 1 am trying to gather in as much background 
information as possible to ensure that I am fully briefed 
on the latest facts and opinion trends. 

This morning I had a most informative talk with Patel's 
private secretary, Shankar, at Aurangzeb Road. We be- 
gan by discussing Press problems. Jn spite of the modus 
vivendi secured at last week's Government House meet- 
ing with the Foreign Press, it is clear that the Sardar and 
his circle are still full of resentment at British Press treat- 
ment of the Punjab troubles. He went so far as to ask 
me whether these were all the thanks Congress leaders 
were to get for the considerable political risk they had 
taken in accepting Dominion Status at all? I told Shan- 
kar that J thought history would accord to the Sardar 
great credit for his part in the transfer of power, and that 
his realistic attitude on the three major issues, Partition, 
Dominion Status and relations with the Indian Princes, 
was statesmanship of a high order. 

I came away with the firm impression that the Sardar 
was well aware of the solid and immediate advantages 
Dominion Status conferred on India. In the wider con- 
text of the worljj conflict he clearly appreciates that if it 
comes to a show-down, India's interests are likely to be 
closely interwoven with those of the Western Powers. 
This being so, Dominion Status, or its equivalent, enables 
India to come within the orbit of Western good-will with- 
out incurring the formal liabilities of a treaty relation- 




ship. It must be stressed that Patel has never actually 
intervened in external affairs, and that this field is Nehru's 
unchallenged responsibility. Moreover, the prevailing 
view-point of Nehru places higher hopes on India's capa- 
city to stand outside the struggle of rival World Powers, 
and, in the process, to build up a neutral bloc in Asia 
which could play a constructive mediating role through 
U.N.O. and bv other means. 

Shankar said that the Sardar had met with great success 
yesterday at Amritsar. He had made a big speech to 
what was perhaps the most representative gathering ol 
Sikh leaders since the transfer of power. Nearly all the 
falhadas had been present, and had responded favourably 
10 his call for moderation. 

Liaquat is back in Deihi for to-day\s Joint Defence 
Council. I understand that this morning's meeting was 
a very difficult one. At the small lunch-party afterwards 
at which Nehru and Liaquat were Uic two guests and 
Vernon and myself were the slalf members, the atmos- 
phere was still snmewhat strained. Liaquat, who was in 
a pea-green coat and looked far from well, got involved, 
in an argument with Nehru over the movement of Mos- 
lems from Ambala. It was one of those occasions when 
we would all have liked to change the subject but seemed 
powerless to do so. 

The background to all this tense talk is the action of 
the Pakistan Government in closing the Balloki Bridge 
across the Ravi, which is in the West Punjab. At the 
Council meeting Patel did his utmost to persuade Liaquat 
to open the Bridge, but in vain. Mountbatten, however, 
in a private talk with him afterwards, made a final ap- 
peal, and had the satisfaction of getting him to reverse his 
verdict before he lett for Pakistan. 

There has also been some plain speaking over Juna- 
gadh. Mountbatten at first had great difficulty in mak- 
ing either Prime Minister raise the subject at all - Liaquat's 
attitude being "Why should 1? We have done nothing 
wrong. Jf India is worried, let India raise it", and Nehru 



feeling that for himself to initiate discussion would only 
be interpreted as a sign of weakness, but Mountbatten 
finally prevailed on Liaquat to make the first mention. 
Mangrol and Babariawad were the points of contention. 
Mountbatten and Nehru underlined the clear right of both, 
with the lapse of Paramounlcy, to accede to India. Nehru 
called on Liaquat to order the withdrawal of Junagadh 
troops from Babariawad. Just as he was. doing this, a 
telegram was handed in indicating that Junagadh troops 
had now entered Mangrol as well. Nehru undertook not 
to allow Indian troops to enter either State until the legal 
position of both had been definitely established by higher 
authority, provided the Junagadh forces were immediately 

Liaquat' s attitude on this was reasonably conciliatory, 
but on the wider issue of Pakistan accepting Junagadh's 
accession in the first place he was adamant that they had 
been right in doing so. He takes his stand on the legal 
grounds that the ruler has the absolute right to accede 
without reference to the moral or ethnic aspects of ac- 


Thursday, 2nd October, 1947 
A few days ago the Daily Telegraph published a sen- 
sational report to the effect that Auchinleck during his re- 
cent visit to Karachi had staled, "Refugee traffic could be 
peaceably resumed in both directions if the Sikhs of the 
Punjab and the Sikh States could be effectively disarmed." 
Not unnaturally, Patel was greatly disturbed by the story, 
and has discussed its implications at some length with 
Mountbatten. In order to foreshorten surmise and corres- 
pondence, Mountbatten suggested, and Patel agreed, that 
I should take the earliest opportunity to see Auchinleck 
personally and check on the story's authenticity, and if pos- 
sible secure his agreement to a disclaimer. 

1 went round to the Supreme Commander's house this 
afternoon. It seemed very quiet and deserted. The tre- 



mendous activities of the past six weeks have indissolubly 
linked Government House with the new order, but the tide 
of events has flowed past this residence of the C.\s in C, 
India, so that it now evokes only the memories of former 
greatness. Auchinleck glanced quickly through the report, 
and at once explained, in his usual measured hut incisive 
manner, that he had no recollection whatever of saying the 
words attributed to him either to Mr. Jinnah, with whom 
he had prolonged confidential discussions about the future 
of the Supreme Command, or to anyone else, least of all 
ihe Daily Telegraph correspondent, whom he had not met 
and did not know. After a few pithy remarks on the 
subject of Press sensationalism, he invited me over a cup 
of lea in the garden to draft a disclaimer with him. This 
took only a few minutes to compose, and within the hour 
I was able to report, "Mission completed". 

Auchinleck \s position as Supreme Commander is becom- 
ing daily more difficult. His experience, prestige and inte- 
grity have been very valuable assets in keeping the parti- 
tion of the Indian Army clear of the great political dispute 
from which Partition itself has sprung, but already there 
are signs that the Supreme Command is being subjected 
in just the same kind of pressures which made the already 
baffling task of the Punjab Boundary Force finally impos- 

Keeping in mind the tension engendered by the Punjab, 
it is greatly to the credit of Auchinleck and his staff that 
ihey have been able to make such headway without so far 
attracting major controversy. From the formation of the 
South-east Asia Command in the autumn of 1943 onwards 
f have watched Auchinleck play the role of self-denial. 
Now he is called upon to preside over the most painful task 
of all — the partition along communal lines of an Army the 
glory of which under British command had been its capa- 
city to embrace the loyalties of all Indian races and reli- 
gions in a common service. 



Karachi, Friday, 3rd October, 1947 
Yesterday was Gandhi's seventy-eighth birthday. For 
the first time the Court Circular, on Mountbatten's instruc- 
tions, has referred to him as "Mahatma Gandhi". Hither- 
to it has always been the formal and largely meaningless 
"Mr.". The actual occasion of this change is the refer- 
ence to Lady Mountbalten's birthday visit to him yester- 
day at Birla House. 1 have written a note to Ian Stephens, 
Editor of The Statesman, who has for so long been plead- 
ing for this particular courtesy. 

On touching down at Karachi, Tsmay was at once driven 
off to stay the night with Jinnah, the rest of us being bil- 
leted at the airfield. Accommodation is desperately short, 
but, for all that, Karachi is beginning to assume the cosmo- 
politan atmosphere of a capital city. A growing Diplo- 
matic Corps throngs the Palace Hotel, where this evening 
I was given one of the best dinners I have had in all Asia. 

airborne K arach I- 1 1 AHiJA n i ya , Saturday, 4th October, 1947 
Apparently Jinnah was in an angry and difficult mood. 
He is utterly convinced that the Indian leaders* real aim 
is to strangle Pakistan at birth, that Gandhi has never ac- 
cepted Partition and under the guise of religious teaching 
is all the time spreading "Hindu poison", and that Nehru, 
in spite of the appearance of moderation, is not really 
master in his own house. He regards Patel as the real 
dictator, who, he alleges, has entered into an unholy alli- 
ance with the Hindu Mahasabha and would be quite ready 
to overthrow the Congress if it failed to serve as an ap- 
propriate instrument for his anti-Moslem designs. It is 
clear that Jinnah, living in almost total isolation both from 
his followers and the outside world, is a far from happy 
man who is trying to exorcise his fears by nourishing his 

I -ON don , Saturday, 11th October, 1947 
T have to-day sent off my first personal progress report 
lo Mount batten, beginning with congratulations to him on 



the birth of his first grandson and to the baby on starting 
life in the best Mounlbatten style by its attention to punc- 

"I have had lunch [I continued] with Clement Davies, 
who described the political settlement of 1 5th August as a 
miraculous achievement which had enhanced our prestige 
throughout the world and was in no wise offset by subse- 
quent developments in the Punjab. In his view both the 
Russian and American case against our 'imperialism' in 
India were for ever destroyed, and no amount of special 
pleading from either quarter could reinstate it. The pre- 
sent disturbances only brought home the full extent of our 
past achievement, but Churchiirs 'I told you so* line was 
reprehensible and in any case fallacious. We could only 
have stayed on against world and British opinion; more- 
over, the communal explosion would inevitably have en- 
gulfed us if we had tried to stay. 

London, Saturday, 18th October, 1947 
Tn just under a fortnight I have had in all some fifty 
interviews, two full-scale Press conferences— -one at India 
House with the Indian correspondents in London, and the 
other with Francis Williams in the chair to the Lobby Cor- 
respondents in the House of Commons — a short talk with 
Sir Stafford Cripps and two meetings each with Noel-Baker, 
and Patrick Gordon-Walker, the new Secretary, and Under- 
Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. 

Cripps, his power and prestige in the Government en- 
hanced by the recent Cabinet reshuffle, has become co- 
ordinator-in-chief of the nation's entire economic effort, his 
mission being to pull the country back from the precipice 
confronting it during the convertibility crisis in the sum- 
mer. No one talking to Cripps can fail to be impressed 
by his lucidity of mind and serenity of manner. If he is 
somewhat didactic, it is because he is in a position to be. 
None-the-less it is possible to appreciate that this element 
of certitude in his make-up, while of service to him in 



reaching decisions of high policy, may well have been a 
source of weakness during his momentous negotiations with 
idle Indian leaders in 1942 and 1946. Jf intellect could 
have scaled the problem, his success would have been 
assured . 

Noel-Baker and Gordon-Walker are clearly determined 
to bring fresh ideas to this new Department, which is a 
somewhat uneasy amalgamation of the old India and Domi- 
nions Offices. Both start from scratch as far as Jndia is 
concerned, but that should not be a disadvantage in their 
case, for Noel-Baker's special knowledge of international 
relations and Gordon-Walker's of history give them the 
right background. 

ia>nix>n, Wednesday, 22nd October, 1947 
1 have sent olf my final progress report to Mountbatlen 
before we leave for Delhi on Saturdav. 

"Fleet Street [1 wrote] finds genuine difficulty in adjust- 
ing itself to the transition of Congress from an anti-British 
movement into a Dominion Government, and there is a 
tendency to assume that Pakistan will inevitably have closer 
connection with Britain than India. On the other hand, 
lliere is considerable suspicion of Jinnah's aims and mo- 
tives, Nehru's stock is rising, and he is most highly thought 
of in Government circles. Patel is still almost completely 

"In the interviews J have had with Cripps, Noel-Baker 
and Gordon-Walker I was questioned about the High 
Commission's organisation both generally and from the 
Press viewpoint, f gave it as my personal opinion that 
its scope was inevitably restricted by your special status 
and influence, but that with your departure it would be- 
come one of the most important missions in the world. 
Hie objective should be to try to maintain through the 
High Commission the good personal relationships that 
you have been able to establish with the Indian leaders. 
Cripps said that if action was to be taken on this it would 
need to be done fairly quickly and he hoped you would 



put forward your own views on this important matter 
when you return to London for the Royal Wedding. 

"Noel-Baker wondered whether India was giving con- 
sideration to the possibility of a new capital city. He 
realised that for the present Delhi had all the admini- 
strative facilities, but from what he had seen and read it 
would seem to be physically and politically vulnerable 
and too far removed from the' heart of the Indian Domi- 
nion. Discussing Partition, he argued that from the view- 
point of international relations there was a prima facie 
case to be made out for it. A Central Government cover- 
ing four hundred and len million people was too large a 
unit for effective action or treatment through international 
agencies, and it was by means of such agencies, incident- 
ally, that he believed British help and influence both in 
India and elsewhere might be most effectively brought 
to bear. 

"He wanted to know about the progress and prospects 
of the Left in India, and 1 said that I thought they had 
suffered a temporary setback from taking such a direct 
anti-communal line. The price of Jinnah's victory had, 
of course, been a big boost for the Hindu Mahasabha. He 
asked how Government spokesmen could express appro- 
priately their good -will towards the new regime. 1 re- 
plied that 1 felt that an appreciation by His Majesty's 
Government of the administrative load carried by the new 
Governments and reasoned recognition of their difficul- 
ties in any public statements would be well received, and 
that a balance should be held between over-emphasis on 
the \sister Dominions' theme and the appearance of neu- 
tral indifference to their problems. 

"I was asked more than once about the prospects of 
Dominion Status, and, on the basis of my talk with 
Shankar, 1 said that I had the impression that the, matter 
was still being weighed in the balance. I was also asked 
about the position of Patch After stressing his important 
role in Congress's three great decisions over Partition, 
Dominion Status and the Accession of the Princes, I said 



1 felt that, as the effective controller of the Congress 
Party, his first loyalty was likely to be to that Party and 
to its future. It was obviously in some danger of break- 
ing up, as it could no longer be held together solely by 
the anti-British appeal. He had already largely deprived 
himself of the Princes as an alternative issue, and he 
must be under some pressure to substitute the Moslems, 
if only to avoid being trumped by the Mahasabha and 
the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (R.S.S.S.). Cripps 
suggested that the relationship of Nehru and Patel was 
a normal one as between the statesman-leader and the 
party second-in-command. 

"Finally Noel-Baker was anxious to hear about your 
intentions and the likelihood of your being asked to slay 
on. I said that I could not believe that you would easily 
reverse your publicly declared intention of leaving in the 
spring, but thai here again the Indian Government had 
not reached a decision, but were, it seemed, shelving the 
matter for as long as possible." 

London, Thursday, 23rd October, 1947 
lsmay asked me to invite John Bcavan. the London 
liditor of the Manchester (iuardian, lo see him on the sub- 
ject of a controversial leading article published nearly a 
fortnight ago, entitled "Retrospect"; it was the most 
sweeping attack on the whole of Mountbatten's policy 
that I have seen in a newspaper of this calibre. The article 
spoke of the hustle with which the withdrawal was carried 
out and the tossing away of responsibility. "The British 
departure turned into cut and run." It was alleged that 
no effective machinery for joint action between the succes- 
sor Governments of India and Pakistan was. set up fol- 
lowing the Partition announcement of 3rd June. Why 
was no olTer made to stiffen the Punjab Boundary Force 
with British troops? "Jn fact all seems lo have been 
staked on the gamble that if Partition was carried through 
at break-neck speed the turbulent and malignant would 
be too much out of breath to stir, and the gamble failed." 



Ismay was in eloquent form, and in his; answers to each 
point of criticism certainly succeeded in exposing the limi- 
tations of ex post facto arguments and assertions. He ex- 
plained that no amount of advance planning — and there 
had been plenty — could have wholly provided against the 
force of the Punjab explosion and the particular form it 
took. He recalled the Punjabi, saying, <fc If one counts 
up to eleven one does not strike the man", but the people 
were simply not prepared to do just that. Civilised peo- 
ples tended to chng to false concepts in their attitude to 
acts of savagery. He recalled Winston Churchiirs de- 
finition of fanaticism as applied to Ihe 1880 war against 
the Mahdi. Fanaticism, wrote Churchill, is not in itself 
a cause of war, but is something that can be exploited 
when war has begun, ft u the outcome of oppression by 
the strong of the weak. 

So, when the Manchester Guardian complained of lack 
of foresight in setting up administrative machinery, it had 
to be remembered that not everything could be solved by 
Chiefs of Staff papers. Improvisation was necessary, and 
the Chiefs of Staff themselves had to be ready to deal 
with just such emergencies as they arose. With, for in- 
stance, Dunkirk, we had no idea where we would reach 
the sea. We might have gone back along our lines of 

"India in March 1947'\ he said, "was a ship on fire 
in mid-ocean with ammunition in the hold. By then it 
was a question of putting the fire out before it actually 
reached the ammunition. There was in fact no option 
before us but to do what we did/' He would be frank 
and say that he had just spent the unhappiest six months 
in a long official life, so he hoped he would not be accused 
of false complacency in saying that if he had had the time 
over again he would have given the same advice . 

karacht — new DELHI, Monday, 27th October, 1947 
We left Northolt on Saturday in a Lancaster, as the 
Governor-GeneraFs York was unserviceable and in pro- 



cess of a complete overhaul to be ready in time for the 
Mountbattens* return for the Royal Wedding. 




Tuesday, 28th October, 1947 
We arrived at Palam, very tired, at one o'clock in the 
morning. Vernon was there to greet us with the news 
that since dawn Monday Indian troops have been march- 
ing, or rather flying, into Kashmir, I was just about to 
get into bed at a quarter to three when Pete Rees called 
me and said that Mount batten wanted to brief me at once 
on the latest Kashmir developments. 

Events, Mountbatten said, had taken a serious turn, and 
three hundred and thirty men of the First Sikh Battalion 
were flown in to block a major invasion by North-west 
Frontier tribesmen, who are moving rapidly on Srinagar, 
the summer capital. He was very anxious that I should 
begin making my Press contacts early in the morning, but 
realised that it was essential that I should first be acquaint- 
ed fully with the salient facts of a crisis which came to 
a head while we were on our journey from London. I 
was aware only that early in September there had been 
a hitch in the newly established relations between Kashmir 
and Pakistan — the Kashmir Government accusing Paki- 
stan of failure to,, provide supplies of several essential 
commodities and protesting about a number of small 
border raids, and Pakistan making counter-complaint. 

Three days before the transfer of power and the Acces- 
sion time limit the Kashmir Government announced its 
intention of signing standstill agreements with both India 
and Pakistan. Subsequently the Indian Government's 
policy has been to refrain from inducing Kashmir to 



accede. Indeed, the States Ministry, under Patel's direc- 
tion, went out of its way to take no action which could 
be interpreted as forcing Kashmir's hand and lo give 
assurances that accession to Pakistan would not be taken 
amiss by India. The Maharaja's chronic indecision must 
be accounted a big factor in the present crisis. Almost 
any course of action taken quickly would have saved his 
State from this turmoil. Procrastination alone was fatal, 
but in combating major crises it would seem that, as with 
the Nizam, this is the only weapon in his diplomatic 
armoury. " 

The military and political implications of to-day's move 
are grave, and Mountbalten is, of course, under no illusion 
about that. Although his role can only now in the last 
resort be advisory, I get the firm impression that his pre- 
sence may already have helped to save his Government, 
overburdened and distracted with the problems of the 
Punjab and Junagadh, from the most dangerous pitfalls. 
It was a sudden emergency, calling at once for restraint 
and quick decision. Mountbatten's extraordinary vitality 
and canniness were well adapted to the demands of the 

I gather from him that it was last Friday night (24th 
October), at a butfet dinner in honour of the Siamese 
Foreign Minister, that Nehru first spoke of bad news and 
reported that tribesmen were being taken in military trans- 
port up the Rawalpindi road. State forces, it seems, were 
absent, and altogether a most critical situation was deve- 
loping. Mountbatten attended the Defence Committee on 
Saturday 25th, at which General Lockhart read out a 
telegram from the Headquarters of the Pakistan Army 
stating that some five thousand tribesmen had attacked 
and captured Muzafl'arabad and Dome! and that consider- 
able tribal reinforcements could be expected. Reports 
showed that they were already little more than thirty-five 
miles from Srinagar. 

The Defence Committee considered the most immedi- 
ate necessity was to rush in arms and ammunition already 


requested by the Kashmir Government, which would en- 
able the local populace in Srinagar to put up some de- 
fence against the raiders. The problem of troop rein- 
forcements was considered, and Mountbatten urged that 
it would be dangerous to send in any troops unless Kash- 
mir had first offered to accede. Moreover, accession 
should only be temporary, prior to a plebiscite. No final 
decision was taken on these vital questions on the 25th, 
but it was agreed that V. P. should fly to Srinagar at once 
to find out the true position there. 
S The information which V. P. brought back to the De- 
fence Committee the next day was certainly disturbing. 
He reported that he had found the Maharaja unnerved 
by the rush of events and the sense of his lone helpless- 
ness. Impressed at last with the urgency of the situation, 
he had felt that unless Jndia could help immediately all 
would be lost. Later in the day, on the strong advice of 
V. P., the Maharaja left Srinagar with his wife and son. 
V. P. had impressed upon him that as the raiders had 
already reached Baramula it would be foolhardy for His 
Highness to stay on in the capital. The Maharaja also 
signed a letter of accession which V. P. was able to pre- 
sent to the Defence Committee. 

As for the military outlook, V. P. advised that the 
troops left in Srinagar had no prospect whatever of hold- 
ing the invaders, for they consisted merely of one squa- 
dron of cavalry. In the light of this depressing data the 
Cabinet decided that the Maharaja's accession should be 
accepted and that a battalion of infantry should be flown 
in at dawn the next day. 

Mountbatten then explained to me in more detail the 
reason for the line* he had taken on accession at the De- 
fence Committee and the modification it involved to his 
previous approach to the problem. He said that while 
urging the Maharaja to make up his mind about accession 
before the transfer of power, he had all along, from his 
visit in June onwards, exerted his whole influence to pre- 
vent him from acceding to one Dominion or the other 



without first taking steps to ascertain the will of his people 
by referendum, plebiscite, election, or even, if these me- 
thods were impracticable, by representative public meet- 
ings. When during the past forty-eight hours it became 
clear that the Government were determined, against the 
military advice both of their own Chiefs of Staff and 
of himself, to send in troops in response to a request from 
Kashmir for aid, he returned to the charge about accession. 

He considered that it would be the height of folly to 
send troops into a neutral State, where we had no right 
to send them, since Pakistan could do exactly the same 
thing, which could only result in a clash of armed forces 
and in war. He therefore argued that if indeed they were 
determined to send in troops, the essential prerequisite 
was accession, and unless it was made clear that this ac- 
cession was not just an act of acquisition, this in itself 
might touch off a war. He therefore urged that in the 
reply his Government asked him to send on their behalf 
to the Maharaja accepting his accession ofTer he should 
be allowed to add that this was conditional on the will of 
the people being ascertained as soon as law and order 
were restored. This principle was at once freely accepted 
and unilaterally proposed by Nehru. 

As a first step towards popular Government after his 
accession, the Maharaja has released Sheikh Abdullah, 
leader of the National Conference, the strongest political 
party in the State, and is appointing him head of a Pro- 
visional Administration. The legality of the accession is 
beyond doubt. On this particular issue Jinnah has been 
hoist with his own petard, as it was he who chose, over 
Junagadh, to take his stand on the overriding validity of 
the ruler's personal decision. 

Just before 4 a.m. Mountbatten mercifully dismissed 
us, otherwise I think 1 would have dozed off in front of 

During this incredible day everything happened at once. 
Over and above a long list of Press interviews I was called 
in for a talk with Mountbatten and Nehru to consider a 



Government statement about its administrative achieve- 
ments to date — a somewhat academic exercise at this 
particular moment, f was shocked to see how haggard 
and ill Nehru looked. 

Mountbatten is disturbed by the editorial attitude of 
The Statesman, which in its anxiety over the decline in 
Indo-Pakistan relations has denounced the injection of 
Indian troops into Kashmir, and he asked me to arrange 
for Tan Stephens, the editor, to come and sec him. About 
an hour later Stephens was with us, and Mountbatten be- 
gan by saying, "You can't build a nation on tricks". 
Jinnah at Abbotabad, he continued, had been expecting 
to ride in triumph into Kashmir. He had been frustrated. 
First there was Junagadh, then yesterday's fantastic hold- 
up of the Hyderabad delegation. India's move on Kash- 
mir was an event of a different order. Her readiness to 
accept a plebiscite had been declared from the outset. A 
large-scale massacre, including a couple of hundred British 
residents in Srinagar, by tribesmen would have been in- 
evitable if no military move had been made. The Maha- 
raja's accession gave complete legality to the action so 
far taken. 

He wound up by telling Stephens that as a result of 
Auchinleck's intervention Jinnah has been prevailed on 
to invite Mountbatten and Nehru to Lahore to-morrow 
to discuss the Kashmir crisis. This is certainly a remark- 
able development, and, in answer to inquiries from Doon 
Campbell, Andrew Mellor and others, 1 duly stressed its 
hopeful significance. I was not able to tell them, how- 
ever, what lay behind this invitation or just how vital 
Auchinleck's role has been during the past twenty-four 

In the middle of to-day's Defence Committee, Auchin- 
leck rang up Mountbatten from Lahore to say that he 
had succeeded in persuading Jinnah to cancel orders given 
the previous night for Pakistan troops to be moved into 



Kashmir. The order had reached General Gracey, the 
acting Pakistan Commander-in-Chief in the temporary ab- 
sence of General Messervy, through the Military Secretary 
of the Governor of the West Punjab, with whom Jinnah 
was slaying. Gracey replied that he was not prepared to 
issue any such instruction without the approval of the 
Supreme Commander. At Gracey 's urgent requesl, 
Auchinleck flew to Lahore this morning and explained 
to Jinnah that an act of invasion would involve automati- 
cally and immediately the withdrawal of every British 
Officer serving with the newly formed Pakistan Army. 

Before Auchinleck left him he had not only called off 
the order, but also invited Mountbalten and Nehru to 
come to Lahore, Vernon, however, arriving late for din- 
ner after some harassing hours on the telephone, an- 
nounced, "It is the end". The whole plan, he said, had 
broken down, as Nehru could not go to Lahore because 
of illness. 

After the film-show to-night Mountbalten called in 
Ronnie, Vernon and myself for a chat on the day's events. 
Mountbatten said he had pressed strongly for the Lahore 
visit at this morning's Defence Committee, and they had 
all been sufficiently in awe of him not to raise a voice to 
say him nay, but he understands that at the Cabinet this 
afternoon, although his presence was still felt, the pres- 
sure on Nehru not to go was very heavy, and that on 
reaching his house he practically collapsed and had to be. 
put to bed. Mountbatten is sure that his illness is 
genuine. Nehru has incidentally agreed to Mountbatten 
forwarding a message to Jinnah to say that he is ill and to 
ask for a postponement. Mountbatten has decided to 
telephone Jinnah in the morning in order to give him a 
personal account of Nehru's state of health, and to try to 
bring him down to Delhi. 

The Government are undoubtedly jibbing at Lahore, 
and there is criticism not merely of place but of the timing 
as well. A comparison has even been drawn with Cham- 
berlain's visit to Godesberg. There is an appreciable 



danger of Kashmir causing the growth of a mock heroic 
psychology here which it is the duty of our party at Go- 
vernment House to try to mitigate, but, as. Ronnie rightly 
says, we have to get inside the problem or we will have 
no influence at all. 


Wednesday, 29th October. 1947 
Mountbatten went round to see Nehru in his room this 
morning. Palel joined them, and there was a frank talk 
about the general desirability of Ihe Lahore visit. Mount- 
batten asked about going himself alone, saying he had no 
feelings of personal pride when the question of saving 
ihe two countries from disaster was at stake. Patel re- 
plied that he and the rest of the Cabinet were strongly 
opposed to either of them making the visit. Mountbatten 
then pointed out that Liaquat was also ill, and another 
meeting of the Joint Defence Council was in any case due 
to be held this week. It would be a friendly gesture for 
Nehru and himself to go to Lahore for that purpose. 
Nehru agreed, and Mountbatten returned to Government 
House, where he at once made his telephone call to Jinnah, 
who expressed pleasure at this proposal. Five minutes 
afterwards Doon Campbell rang me up to ask whether 
there was any truth in the rumour that Mountbatten had 
been speaking to Jinnah on the telephone! 

Mountbatten had a ninety-minute talk with Gandhi to- 
day. At yesterday's Prayer Meeting the Mahatma struck 
an almost Churchillian note over Kashmir. His line was: 
the result was in the hands of God; men could but do or 
die. He would not shed a tear if the little Union force 
was wiped out like the Spartans bravely defending Ther- 
mopylae, nor would he mind Sheikh Abdullah and his 
Moslem, Hindu and Sikh comrades dying at their posts 
in the defence of Kashmir. That would be a glorious 
example to the rest of India; such heroic defence would 
affect the whole sub-continent, and everyone would forget 
that Hindus, Moslems and Sikhs were ever enemies. 



The immediate military situation is serious. The Com- 
manding Officer of the battalion flown in on Monday has 
been killed, and there has been a withdrawal, and fairly 
heavy fighting is going on four and a half miles west of 

It is, noteworthy that the situation in Hyderabad has 
reacted sharply to the Kashmir crisis. Only twenty-four 
hours after the Indian acceptance of Kashmir's accession 
and the fly-in comes the report of a dramatic hold-up of 
the Nizam's delegation by an Ittehad-inspired mob on 
the eve of its departure for Delhi to sign a Standstill 
Agreement. We are still awaiting the full details of this 
extraordinary development, but it is clear that the Nizam, 
in his efforts to cling to his prerogatives, is allowing him- 
self to come incieasingly under the influence of the Ittehad 


Thursday, 30th October, 1947 
Pete Rees kindly called in to see me after dinner to 
keep me posted with news. The situation in Kashmir, he 
said, was very obscure, and there was no proper intellig- 
ence. He was convinced that if the tribesmen had follow- 
ed their own looting instincts they would have been in 
Srinagar by now; but under the leadership of ex-I.N.A. 
officers they seemed, fortunately, to be more cautious. 

After a difficult Defence Committee, Nehru's attendance 
at the Joint Defence Council in Lahore was formally con- 
firmed and announced, but he has since had to send a 
message to Mountbatlen that the doctor had decided that 
he is still not well enough, and so after all Mountbatlen 
will go alone. Nehru is also greatly distressed by a Paki- 
stan Government statement, issued with a sense of timing 
which seems to be Jinnah's stock-in-trade technique of 
applying diplomatic pressure. It is, in fact, a method 
which makes diplomacy almost impossible. In the state- 
ment the Kashmir accession is described as being "based 
on fraud and violence, and as such cannot be recognised". 



There was, it added, conclusive evidence that Kashmiri 
troops were used first to attack Moslems in the State and 
even to attack Moslem villages in Pakistan near the 
border. All this had provoked the Pathan raiders — and 
so on, in terms which make it probably as well that Mount- 
batten cannot take Nehru with him. 


Sunday, 2nd November, 1947 

Since the troubles began J have been cut off from my 
family. I took the chance of a lightning visit by Peter 
Howes to Simla to see them for a few hours. We left on 
the return trip to Delhi first thing this morning. 

All was quiet save for signs of recent communal troubles 
at Karnal. We saw lorries bringing out Moslems from 
the walled township. Moslem women were cowering 
against the wall. As we rushed past, the car radio was 
thundering out Bach's Prelude and Fugue in F minor. 
The incongruity of sound and scene and circumstance 
stirred thoughts in me which went deeper than words. 
What are the bounds of human experience? It was as if 
by one strange apocalyptic flash all the grandeur and 
misery of the world had been revealed. 

On our arrival at Government House I found 1 was 
due to dine with the Mountballens. The Maharaja of 
Bikaner was among the guests. After dinner Bikancr gave 
a running commentary on a film describing his State's 
part in the movement and welfare of refugees. By means 
of some fine colour photography the film told the story 
of how more than five lakhs of refugees had been phased 
through Bikaner. #They passed in their thousands over 
largely barren land, imposing almost overnight an im- 
mense strain on the State's resources and limited lines of 
communication. Yet throughout the whole operation only 
one hundred and fifty Moslems died on the way. 

Mountbatten, who was in good heart, told me he was 
very pleased with his three-and-a-half-hour talk with 
Jinnah at Lahore. They were able to exchange views with 



rather more freedom than if their respective Prime Minis- 
ters had actually been with them. Jinnah began by com- 
plaining that the Indian Government had failed to give 
timely warning to his Government of its intentions. 
Mount bat ten replied that Nehru's first action after leaving 
the meeting at which the decision to fly in the troops was 
taken was to telegraph to Liaquat. Jinnah then reiterated 
the published statement that the accession was not bona 
fide, since it rested on violence and fraud, and would thus 
never be accepted by Pakistan. 

The argument then got into a vicious circle. Mount- 
batten agreed that the accession had indeed been brought 
about by violence, but the violence came from the tribes, 
for whom Pakistan, and not India, was responsible. To 
this Jinnah would retort that in his opinion it was India 
who had committed the violence by sending in the troops, 
and Mountbatten would continue to stand his ground that 
where the tribesmen were was where the violence lay. 
Thus it went on until Jinnah could no longer conceal his 
anger at what he called Mountbatten's obtuseness. 

Mountbatten advised Jinnah of the strength of the 
Indian forces in Srinagar and of their likely build-up in 
the next few days. He told him that he considered the 
prospect of the tribesmen entering Srinagar in any force 
was now remote. This led Jinnah to make his first general 
proposal, which was that both sides should withdraw at 
once and simultaneously. When Mountbatten asked him 
to explain how the tribesmen could be induced to remove 
themselves, his reply was, "If you do this 1 will call the 
whole thing off", which at least suggests that the public 
propaganda line that the tribal invasion was wholly be- 
yond Pakistan's control will not be pursued too far in 
private discussion. 

On inquiry Mountbatten found that Jinnah's attitude to 
a plebiscite was conditioned by his belief that the com- 
bination of Tndian troops in occupation and Sheikh Ab- 
dullah in power meant that the average Moslem would 
be far too frightened to vote for Pakistan. Mountbatten 



proposed a plebiscite under United Nations Organisation 
auspices;, whereupon Jinnah asserted that only the two 
Governors-General could organise it. Mountbatten at once 
rejected this suggestion, stressing that whatever Jinnah's 
prerogatives might be, his own constitutional position al- 
lowed him only to act on his Government's advice. 

Jinnah's mood was one of depression, almost fatalism. 
He kept harping on the masochistic theme that India was 
out to destroy the nation of his making, and his attitude 
to every personality and act of policy across the border 
was coloured by that general assumption. Mountbatten 
with Ismay, who was present for most of the conversa- 
tion, did his utmost to reassure him. It is doubtful 
whether he made any headway, but at least they left good 
friends on the surface. Mountbatten says that as a mili- 
tary operation the speed of the fly-in on 27th October left 
our S.E.A.C. efforts standing. It certainly seems to have 
left Jinnah standing as well and to have been a perform- 
ance wholly outside his calculations. 

In spite of Mountbatten's optimism and frankness, the 
events of the past few days have inevitably caused a 
widening of the breach between himself and Jinnah, which 
this latest meeting has by no means narrowed. For Jinnah 
would seem to have judged Mountbatten by himself and 
assumed that he retains almost Viceregal powers. This 
might well lead him to the further assumption that Mount- 
batten was the real author of the letter accepting Kash- 
mir's accession, the directing hand responsible for the 
daring and dash of the fly-in and in general the moving 
spirit in causing tfcis serious setback to Pakistan's in- 
terests and aspirations. 

If this is so, it is a tragic misreading of the facts. Ever 
since the acceptance of the 3rd June Plan, Mountbatten 
has regarded as the central feature of his mission the pro- 
motion of good-will between the two successor States. 
Jinnah is not insensitive to issues of personal reputation, 
and it is strange that he cannot see that disappointment 



here would be likely to be regarded by Mountbatten as 
a measure of personal failure. 

Apart from his vexation over Kashmir, it may well be 
that Jirinah does not consider that on wider grounds 
Mountbatten now enjoys the powers to serve as a re- 
straining or mediating influence in India. As we have 
seen, Jinnah's concept of the proper functions of a Go- 
vernor-General were made plain enough when he at once 
invoked the special powers allowed under the Independ- 
ence Act. 

Last but not least, although the two men have a con- 
siderable personal respect for each other, Jinnah is now 
wholly dedicated to the aims of his statecraft.* Deeper 
fears and colder calculations which are beyond Mount- 
batten's means to penetrate seem to possess Jinnah at this 


Monday, 3rd November, 1947 
With the Kashmir crisis holding all the limelight, 
Hyderabad has escaped attention, yet only yesterday — 
some two and a half months after Independence Day — 
Mountbatten found himself receiving an entirely new 
Hyderabad"! delegation of three led by Moin Nawaz Jung, 
one of the strong men of the ittehad, and, it would seem, 
several stages further avvav from settlement' than on the 
15th August. Indeed, after developments which most 
significantly came to a head the night after Kashmir's 
accession and the fly-in, and which can only be described 
as of Ruritanian improbability, it is remarkable that the 

* Just how deep was this regard of Mr. Jinnah for Lord 
Moimtballen was revealed to me recently by a personal friend 
of Mr. Jinnah's. He told me that just before his death Mr. 
Jinnah went .so far as to say, "The only man I have ever been 
impressed with in all my life was Lord Mountbatten. When I 
met him for the first time I felt he had "nur *' ("nur" approxi- 
mates in English to a "divine radiance"). He said that Mr. 
Jinnah added that he had never doubted Lord Mountbatten's 
integrity the whole time he was in India. 



negotiations should be continuing at all. But for Mount- 
batten's and Monckton's persistence and will-power they 
would have broken down completely by now. As it is, 
the Nizam has succeeded only in completely forfeiting 
whatever reserve of confidence the Government of India- 
and Patel in particular — had in him, and I doubt whether 
their relations can ever be the same again. 

During Ismay's and my visit to London, Mountbatten 
used all his resources as a conciliator to find the formula 
that would close the gap between accession and associa- 
tion. He even went so far as to recommend a lavish docu- 
ment — a hand-written vellum scroll, perhaps — with a head- 
ing confined to some such archaism as "Know all men 
by these presents". It could then be accepted by both 
parties as an "Instrument", without suffix or prefix, but 
meaning accession to the Sardar and association to His 
Exalted Highness! 

In the belief that the Nizam was susceptible to moderate 
influences only so long as Monckton was at his side, 
Mountbatten worked hard to secure agreement for a visit 
from V. P. Menon to the State so that negotiations could 
be continued in Hyderabad. The day before V. P. was 
due to leave — all the necessary clearance having been 
secured at both ends — the Nizam turned the visit down, 
on the grounds thai V. P.'s presence would give rise to 
demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. The tone of 
this refusal and of Patel's reply to it were sufficiently offen- 
sive to the susceptibilities of both parties to have brought 
the negotiations to a final halt. 

Al this stage Mountbatten asked Monckton to come to 

Oelhi as his personal guest, and Monckton propo&e^l on 
the 10th October a year's Standstill Agreement which 
would give India most of the substantial advantages of 
accession while preserving the Nizam's symbolic status. 
Mountbatten succeeded in securing an extension beyond 
the two months for conducting the discussions on this 
basis. There followed some intense and bitter bargaining, 
when once again the complete collapse of the negotiations 



seemed imminent, but on the 22nd October a draft Stand- 
still Agreement was prepared with various revisions which 
was acceptable both to V. P. and to the Nizam's 

The delegation at once returned to Hyderabad to clinch 
the matter, and on the same evening showed the draft to 
the Nizam, who did not like the look of it and decided 
to refer the whole text to his Executive Council. The 
Executive Council, with the delegation present to explain 
points of detail, spent the next three days in discussing 
the draft, and on Saturday the 25th October, with a for- 
mal vote of six in favour and three against, advised the 
Nizam to accept and sign the Standstill Agreement with- 
out further revision or delay. The delegation duly re- 
ported the result of the vote that evening to the' Nizam, 
who indicated his approval of the decision. The Nizam, 
it seems, spent most of the next day preparing two col- 
lateral letters which involved an undertaking on his part 
not to accede to Pakistan and covered his position in the 
event of India leaving the Commonwealth or war break- 
ing out between India and Pakistan. During the evening 
the delegation called for all the documents,, as they were 
due to leave for Delhi early the next morning. But the 
Nizam, without explanation, excused himself from adding 
his signature that night. 

At three o'clock in the morning a crowd estimated at 
about twenty thousand swarmed round the three adjacent 
houses occupied by Chhatari, Monekton and Sir Sultan 
Ahmed. There v/ere loud-speakers in the crowd telling 
them to remain orderly and to create no disturbance be- 
yond preventing the delegation from leaving. No Hydera- 
bad police were seen at any time, and the Ittehad pub- 
licly took credit for this militant challenge. At about five 
o'clock in the morning Chhatari ultimately managed to 
make contact with the Army authorities, and the delegates 
and Lady Monekton were then safely evacuated to the 
house of an officer of the Hyderabad Slate Forces. 



At 8 a.m. the Nizam sent a message to the delegates 
that they should not leave for a few days. He also advised 
Mountbatten by telegram that owing to "unforeseen cir- 
cumstances" they could not return forthwith, and trusted 
that the Governor-General would not mind if they came 
on Thursday or Friday at the latest. Mountbatten at once 
agreed. When the Nizam actually saw the delegation in 
the afternoon of the 27th he said he wanted them to stay 
while he took final stock of the situation, but he expressed 
complete agreement with his Council's decision. He 
roundly denounced the lttehad and Razvi, who, it seems, 
was personally responsible for organising the opposition, 
and asserted that he would force Razvi to accept the 

The next morning, at a second interview with the de- 
legation, the Nizam called Razvi in, but far from con- 
verting him, it was Razvi who dominated the Nizam, 
spoke of the agreement as meaning the death of Hydera- 
bad and pleaded for a chance to reopen negotiations in 
what he regarded as more favourable circumstances aris- 
ing from the Indian Government's preoccupations with 
troubles elsewhere. He proposed a new delegation, pre- 
ferably of three dissenting voters in the Executive Council, 
Monckton, Chhatari and Ahmed all explained that any 
such course of action would be illusory and disastrous, 
and thereupon tendered their resignations. 

On Thursday the 30th the Nizam had a last interview 
with Monckton and Ahmed before the former left for 
London and the latter for Delhi. Ahmed, who at once 
reported the whole of the above bizarre episode to Mount- 
batten, fired a parting shot at his former master by say- 
ing in effect, "This will be the end of you, and your 

At the same time a telegram from the Nizam advised 
Mountbatten that owing to "the changed political situa- 
tion" the old delegation had been dissolved and a new 
one created from the ranks of the dissenting voters with- 
in the Council. Moin Nawaz Jung, the new chairman, 



is also a brother-in-law of Mir Laik Ali, who has succeed- 
ed Chhatari as Premier, and who up to September was 
Representative of Pakistan in United Nations. 

The possibility that all this manoeuvring may be the 
prelude to some attempt by Hyderabad to align herself 
with Pakistan cannot be overlooked, and was very frankly 
dealt with by Mountbatten at his Lahore meeting with 
Jinnah". There has been general contact between Karachi 
and Hyderabad both before and after the transfer of 
power, but Jinnah was at pains to stress that he has had 
nothing whatever to do with the Nizam's reversed decision 
and has never discussed any form of agreement with him. 

Jvloin on his* arrival began by taking a lofty line that 
the Nizam wanted Hyderabad to be an independent so- 
vereign Stale in close association with the two Dominions 
and with a foreign policy in general conformity with 
India's. But Mountbatten has been extremely tough with 
him and his delegation, which he met for the first time 
yesterday. He told them that he had never in the course 
of his experience in international negotiations over some 
years come across so naive and extraordinary a procedure 
as Hyderabad was now trying to adopt by reverting to a 
draft which had already, after days of patient examina- 
tion, been rejected by the other party. He has made it 
clear beyond all equivocation thai the Government still 
abide by the final version of the Standstill Agreement as 
worded when the previous delegation left Delhi, as ac- 
cepted by the Nizam's Council and, until his sudden vdte- 
(ace, by the Nizam himself. m If the Nizam continued to 
repudiate his own decision, the responsibility for break- 
ing off the negotiations would be his alone, and the Indian 
Government would make it clear to the world that this 
was so. 

Nehru has made a big broadcast offering a ¥ United 
Nations controlled plebiscite for Kashmir, which Mount - 
. batten raised with Jinnah on Saturday. It is altogether 
a moderate and well-argued statement. But Jinnah's ob- 
jection, which he made quite clear at the Lahore meeting, 


is not to the idea of a plebiscite as such, but to the pre- 
sence of Indian troops in Kashmir while it is being held, 
which he claims likely to prejudice any chance of it being 
impartial. Both Nehru and Patel seemed to think that a 
referendum could not be held during the winter months, 
and would in any case take time to organise. Mountbatten 
is concerned about the complacent assumptions in much 
of the thinking about Kashmir, and has pressed for a 
military appreciation of just what a long-term commitment 
over a wide front would mean. 


Thursday, 6th November, 1947 
1 called round to see Alan Moorehead at the imperial 
this morning. David Astor, the editor of The Observer, 
asked him to undertake a series of special feature articles 
on India and Pakistan since Independence. This is his 
first visit to India, and already the vast canvas excites 
his imagination. Even a short conversation shows him 
to be a most gifted impressionist, with a particular forte 
for descriptive analysis. 

"What," I asked, "is your first reaction to India?" "It 
is rather like Spain," he replied— "men sit hating each 
other like the wrath of God- -then, because the sun is too 
hot, shrug their shoulders and say 'what is the use?' " He 
thought the phrase "India's pathetic contentment" was 
the complete reverse of the truth. On the contrary, he 
felt their mood was one of "apathetic discontent". 


Saturday, Sth November, 1947 
The Joint Defence Council met this morning after pro- 
longed and vain efforts by Mountbatten to secure the pre- 
sence of Liaquat and Jinnah. The Pakistan representatives 
were Nishtar, the Communications Minister, and Moham- 
med Ali, who as Secretary-General to the Government is 
already one of the most influential figures in the new 
regime. Mountbarten invited Nehru and V. P. to join 



Nishtar and Mohammed Ali al lunch. Afterwards he 
steered the conversation into two separate rooms, Nehru 
and Nishtar talking politically, and V. P. and Moham- 
med Ali considering the problem at the official level. 

For the first time, the technique of broadcast invective 
and controversy has been temporarily set aside, and a 
serious effort has been made to seek a detailed working 
formula for a settlement of the dispute. There was a 
rather larger area of common ground than had been ex- 
pected, but diametrically opposed views were held about 
the withdrawal of forces. Pakistan wanted the withdrawal 
to be simultaneous by both sides, while India was ada- 
mant that withdrawal could be effected only after Kashmir 
had been cleared of the raiders. To encourage the Indians 
that they are negotiating from increasing strength comes 
the news that the offensive ordered on Tuesday has suc- 
ceeded and that Baramula has been recaptured. Altogether 
the Mountbatlens can leave for London tomorrow with 
easier minds about Kashmir than had seemed possible 
forty-eight hours ago. 

On the other hand, the Junagadh problem causes re- 
newed worry. At last Monday's Defence Committee it 
was reported as little more than a routine item that Indian 
forces had duly entered Mangrol and Babariawad on the 
1st November and that the occupation had been carried 
through peacefully. It was reasonable to hope that Patel 
would be satisfied for a decision on the occupation of 
Junagadh itself to lie in the pending tray until greater pro- 
blems were safely resolved. 

But to-day at about one in the morning the Dewan 
formally invited the Indian Government to take over the 
administration of Junagadh in order to save the State 
from complete breakdown pending an honourable settle- 
ment of the several issues involved in Junagadhls acces- 
sion. The Dewan advised Liaquat that he was acting with 
the support of public opinion, the authority of the State 
Council and of the Nawab himself, who had a short while 
before flown to Karachi. The Government at once ac- 



cepted the request authorising their Regional Commis- 
sioner in Rajkot to implement it. 

All these developments were only brought to Mount- 
batten's notice late this evening. It is the first time since 
the transfer of power that the Government have carried 
out a major act of policy without fully consulting or noti- 
fying him in advance of the event, tie feels this may be 
due to Patel's and V. P.'s desire to spare him embarrass- 

Finally, to complete the day's anxieties, the Nizam, 
recklessly drawing on the last reserves of good-will to- 
wards himself in Delhi, seeks to buy yet more time before 
signing the Standstill Agreement. His delegation, which 
left Delhi yesterday, has been brought by dint of four 
days sustained efTort to the point where it was ready to 
advise the Nizam to accept the Standstill Agreement with- 
out amendment. The Nizam, on the strength of Mount- 
batten's forthcoming London visit, has now asked for a 
postponement until the 25th November. Mountbatten, 
after consultation with the Government, has replied agree- 
ing to this, provided a settlement is reached by the end 
of the month, 


Sunday, 9th November, 1947 
We set out very early for Palam to see the Mountbattens 
off on the first leg of their flight to London. Right up 
to the last moment Mountbatten was far from happy about 
going at all, but, quite apart from Princess Elizabeth being 
a cousin, the bridegroom, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, 
is not only his jpephew, but has made his home with him 
in England for the past eighteen years. 

At 10 a.m. 1 attended the Swearing-in of Rajagopala- 
chari, who in Mountbatten's absence will be acting as 
Governor-General. Since the transfer of power this 
famous elder statesman of the Congress Party has been 
serving with distinction as Governor of West Bengal. The 
ceremony took place in the Council Chamber in the pre- 



sence of the Cabinet. "C. R.", as he is generally called, 
dressed in his white dhoti and smiling benignly through 
his large dark glasses, gave the Hindu salutation. Every- 
one stood while Banner jee, the Secretary of the Home 
Department, read out the words of the Royal Commis- 
sion — "To our trusty and well beloved Chakravarti Raja- 
gopalachari greeting". The Chief Justice, Kania, ad- 
ministered the oath to which only one alteration was 
made, the substitution of the words "affirm" for "swear". 

The ceremony was all over Within five minutes, but this 
was quite long enough lo convey the full sense of its his- 
toric significance. There were both fulfilment and drama- 
tic irony in the spectacle of this Congress campaigner be- 
coming the first Indian to act as head of State by means 
of the form and title of the Raj which it had been his life 
work to supersede. 

1 attended the acting Governor-General's first lunch- 
party which he gave to members of his staff. C. R.'s mar- 
ried daughter Srimati Namagiri, who is shy and retiring, 
is acting as hostess. The A.D.C.'s laid on the normal 
procedure for outside guests, our staff party being lined 
up for individual introduction. The ladies all curtsied, 
but C. R. pleaded, "Don't do that for me!" 

After* the lunch he called for Vernon and myself. We 
expected little more than a few formal pleasantries, but 
our talk was far more prolonged and illuminating than 
that. We emerged from this encounter strongly impressed 
that when the time came here was the ideal successor 
lo Mountbatten. There could, of course, be no greater 
contrast between the two men's minds and outlook. 
Mountbatten — dynamic, extrovert, tackling events at the 
surface with feverish activity: C. R.— introspective, essen- 
tially a scholar and thinker, anxious primarily about the 
underlying causes. 

He asked about the scope of my work, and tfien pro- 
ceeded to analyse the role of the Indian Press, which, he 
said, had a long way to go before it could achieve its full 
freedom. I asked him what influence it had on politics, 
M. M. — 10 



and he said, "Very little". The Congress had completely 
dominated the political scene, and the Press, instead of 
providing informed criticism, was nothing more than a 
body of political propagandists. If there were to be a 
change in the balance of power all the Press would do 
would be to follow suit, and one lot of propagandists 
would succeed another. He said he had just written to 
an old journalist friend of his in Madras, who was a critic 
of the Government, saying thai the essential thing for the 
Indian Press to do was to concentrate first of all on ad- 
ministrative matters rather than on political formulae. 
Once they began dealing with things which affected the 
daily lives of the people, they would begin to exert a 
genuine influence. 

I told him I particularly admired '/'he Hindu of Madras. 
He said that this was not surprising, in view of my British 
outlook and training, as here was a paper brought up on 
the best traditions of nineteenth-century British Journal- 
ism. He agreed with the point Vernon made that Indian 
journalism was much nearer to American in its tendency 
to outspokenness and over-statement. C. R. drew atten- 
tion to the excellence of the British magazine Country 
Life, which covered such a wide range of subjects and 
which had almost a religious quality about it. He felt 
that until India could produce papers of equal value to 
this, the British would continue to have the advantage 
over her! 

He then turned to the general situation and said he 
was profoundly unhappy. Archibald Nye, who had "an 
almost missionary zeal", had tried to console him, but 
the events of tin* last few weeks had largely shattered the 
dream of a lifetime. "1 had alwavs assumed that we were 
better than other people, that under the leadership of a 
man who had somehow found the secret of combining re- 
ligion and politics without compromising his politics or 
contaminating his religion, we would, through our belief 
in non-violence, make rapid strides as soon as independ- 
ence had been achieved." There was a sense of mission 



while fighting British rule, but that now seemed to be lost 
in the savagery and suffering that Indian people were in- 
flicting upon themselves. 

f remarked that the problem which distressed him as 
affecting the Indian people seemed to be common to 
everyone throughout the world; much the same dilemma 
was facing Europe; perhaps the problem and the solution 
were common to all people. There was really no con- 
solation, he replied, in knowing that the evil was not con- 
fined to Tndia. *T am not distressed at the usual struggles 
lor power — the jealousies and intrigues; the trouble with 
India is that she has a solution to these problems through 
her religion and that she has now seemed temporarily to 
fortzet it." 

He said he was hoping and praying for a revival of the 
Vedantic religious spirit. Their religion had something in 
common with Christianity, and indeed all other religions; 
but the Vcdas were not based so much on the principles 
of Christian leadership, they were more closely related to 
the European pagan philosophies of Socrates and Marcus 
Aurelius. It was a code of conduct which had been known 
to the people over centuries and which helped to conquer 
their fears. Fear, he felt, was at the root of the trouble. 
Revenge was only fear at one remove. Nor was it genuine 
revenge that indulged in the indiscriminate massacre of 
women and children. Someone had said that if we could 
experience the full force of other people's suffering we 
should all die; that there was some form of compensation 
which prevented us from fully appreciating the horrors 
that surrounded us. 

Turning to the Bengal situation, he said that it was 
wonderful to see that Bengal had been free of the com- 
munal disturbance; in fact the East and West Berfgal Go- 
vernments have been working to date on a closer under- 
standing than East and West Pakistan. There had been 
common action from the outset between the two Prime 



There had admittedly been quite a considerable move- 
ment of middle-class Hindus from East Bengal, but this 
was not the outcome of persecution on the part of the 
East Bengal Government. These Hindus had moved be- 
cause they did not think the prospects of security were 
very good, in much the same way as capitalist interests 
had moved out of the Dominion into the States. The 
only people who would come to any harm in the long run 
would be the Hindus themselves. 

C. R. was pessimistic about the political prospects in 
England, and felt that developments in India had done 
the Labour Government a great deal of harm. I said 
1 believed that Churchill had rather over-stated the case. 

He said that the Indian Government were living literally 
from hand to mouth. A tremendous burden was resting 
on Nehru. The main ray of hope was the presence of 
Gandhi ji. Jt was essential that his outlook should prevail. 

Just as we were leaving, the A.D.C. came in to report 
that Mr. Bhabha would be ten minutes late for his ap- 
pointment. "Thank goodness! I am most relieved to 
hear it," said C. R. — a reaction one would not expect to 
hear from Mountbatten! 


Monday, 10th November, 1947 
] have just prepared a Public Relations appreciation 
which recapitulates all the major developments since my 
return here from London. These are the principal points 
1 have made: — 

"Guidance on the tangled Kashmir, Hyderabad and 
Junagadh situation is not easy to give, and reliable in- 
formation on the military situation in Kashmir is parti- 
cularly difficult to extract. It should be noted that when 
Mountbatten visited Kashmir in June he did everything 
possible to impress upon the Maharaja the urgent neces- 
sity of acceding to one or other of the successor Domi- 



nions before the 15th August and of basing his decision 
upon some expression of the popular will. 

"Moreover, Mountbatten was empowered to advise him 
on the authority of Patel that if his decision was to throw 
in his lot with Pakistan and join their Constituent As- 
sembly in advance of the transfer of power, it would not 
be' regarded as an unfriendly act by India. There is,* 
Mountbatten warned him, 'only one way for you to bring 
disaster to your country, and that is to do nothing.' His 
hesitation, followed by the inability or unwillingness of 
Pakistan to prevent tribal incursion into the State, have 
undoubtedly been the primary causes of the present crisis. 
It is probable that nothing short of a full-scale tribal in- 
vasion to the gates of his capital would have induced the 
hesitating Maharaja to accede at all. 

"1 am convinced that the Government of India were 
absolutely right to accept his Accession before offering 
to give him military aid, and to regard it unilaterally as 
an interim measure until the destiny of the State can be 
finally decided by a confirming plebiscite. It should be 
stressed that the accession has complete legal validity both 
in terms of the British Government's and Jinnah's express- 
ed policy statements. But just how narrow the escape 
has been from irreparable disaster is to be seen from 
Jinnah's dramatic invasion order given at midnight on the 
27th October to his Commander-in-Chief, General Gracey, 
and cancelled solely as a result of Gracey seeing fit to 
refer the order to Auchinleck. Auchinleck's immediate 
intervention caused Jinnah to pause just long enough for 
second thoughts. Only thus were the two Dominions 
saved from being forthwith in a state of open war with 
each other. 

"The Nizam of Hyderabad is undoubtedly playing for 
time to see how Kashmir develops before taking a final 
decision in favour of the Standstill Agreement. Tn the 
attempt he has carried on what can only be described as 
Ruritanian negotiations. The Ittehad which he originally 
encouraged has now become a veritable Frankenstein, and 



the whole issue now turns on whether the Nizam has the 
political and moral strength to resist the opposition to 
any form of agreement with India. If the Hyderabad pro- 
blem can be solved 1 am confident that we shall be able 
to surmount the hump of the crisis. 

"At his meeting with Mountbatten in Lahore on 1st 
November, Jinnah asked him to believe that he had al 
first been against accepting the accession of Junagadh and 
had demurred for some time only to give way finally to 
the insistent appeals of the Nawab and Dewan. But this 
was not the line taken a month earlier in Delhi by Liaqual, 
who gave no indications of any such misgivings. But 
whatever the motive or explanation, by accepting Juna- 
gadh^ accession in the first place Jinnah was inevitably 
inviting a sharp reaction. 

"Patel has responded to the challenge in a way which, 
if it raises domestic morale, is hardly calculated to win over 
world opinion. But although the Government's action in 
occupying the Slate will provide material for the suspici- 
ous and ill-disposed to summon up analogies with recent 
European history, it can still be claimed that there has 
strictly been no violation of law. It is perhaps worth 
noting that the invitation from the Junagadh Premier to 
administer the territory in the Ruler's absence docs, not 
in the Indian Government's view prejudice the Accession 
issue. Nehru has olfercd early discussion of the whole 
problem, but Pakistan demands what it calls the restora- 
tion of the Nawab's administration before such discussions 
can begin. Jndia points out that it was the Nawab's ad- 
ministration and nobody else who decided to call in their 
troops. All this, however, leads into a labyrinth of detail 
and a web of propaganda, and it is important not to get 
lost in the one or entangled in the other. 

"Taking the larger view of developments to date, 
Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagadh are essentially one 
situation and react on each other. A move towards agree- 
ment in any one of these three Slates would ease the situ- 
ation in the other two. Accession has been amply vindi- 



cated. AH the acceding States have held firm, and in the 
three cases where there has been trouble the Ruler has 
each time been of a different community from the over- 
whelming majority of his subjects. If the Accession 
policy had not been duly sponsored and pressed home by 
Mountbatten and Patel there would undoubtedly have 
been complete chaos. As it is, the scale of the consoli- 
dation is indeed impressive. In so far as the Princely 
States before the transfer of power formed no part of Bri- 
tish India, their accession now means the incorporation 
into the Indian Union of larger territories and populations 
than have been lost to it by the creation of Pakistan. 

''Mr. Churchill's recent speeches in Parliament during 
the Debate on the Address on Burmese Independence 
and on the Punjab troubles have aroused old phobias. 
In two respects I feel thai what he said should not be 
allowed to pass unchallenged. First, although we arc ad- 
mittedly wallowing here in a statistical morass, all the 
data available to us suggest that his round figures of the 
number of people who have lost their lives in the recent 
disturbances are an inflated estimate. Secondly, the im- 
plication of his speech on Burma, that Dominion Status 
is something less than Independence, should surely be 
taken up at once by the British Government as being 
false in political fact and legal theory and in any case 
completely contrary to its declared policy. 

"My own impression, which has been confirmed since 
my return, is that the Government of India will not force 
the pace on withdrawal from the Commonwealth, and if 
they can find a suitable excuse for letting the matter re- 
main in the pending-tray they will do so. I have for 
some time fell that one of the major objectives of Jinnah's 
policy has been to keep this issue at the* boil 
and if possible to tease India out of the Commonwealth, 
leaving Pakistan as the 'Northern Ireland* of the sub- 
continent. Mountbatten, as a cousin of the King, by 
his continued presence in Delhi as Governor-General of 



India, inadvertently makes it difficult for Jinnah to pro- 
mote this concept. 

"Be that as it may, evidence is accumulating that 
Mountbatten is to be made the target of a fairly heavy 
propaganda barrage from Karachi. The first salvo was 
an article in the Pakistan Times to-day accusing him of 
being in active command of the Kashmir operations. His 
return to London for the Royal Wedding should be the 
best refutation of this fantastic charge. But the depress- 
ing truism remains — the bolder the lie the wider the cre- 
dence; from which it often follows that to deny an un- 
truth is simply to spread a suspicion." 




Tuesday, 11th November, 1947 
To-day is the great Hindu celebration of Deepawali. As 
with our Christmas, the emphasis is placed on the family, 
and particularly on the children. All the houses are be- 
decked with lanterns, for it is the festival of the lights. 
C. R. called me in this morning saying he had composed 
a short Deepawali greetings which he thought might ap- 
propriately be his first message as Governor-General. The 
message addressed to the people of India had a peculiar 
rhythmic beauty, for, like Nehru, C. R. is a master of 
English prose. # 

"We may not/' he wrote, "have the mind to indulge 
in festive rejoicings when we are surrounded by difficul- 
ties, and so deeply immersed in anxieties as we are to- 
day, but Deepawali is a great national day associated with 
hope and joy from time immemorial in India. The lights 
that are lighted on that day also represent the hope for 
more and more enlightenment, and the holy anointing 



done on the morrow of the festival is associated with the 
cleansing of the spirit symbolically called the Ganga Shan. 
May this Deepawali serve to purify the hearts and en- 
lighten the minds of people everywhere in Jndia irres- 
pective of caste or creed or so-called race." 


Wednesday, 26th November, 1947 

On all sides there are signs of a detente giving rise to 
the hope that the storms which have threatened to over- 
whelm the sub-continent following the transfer of power 
may at last be subsiding. All India Radio provided per- 
haps the most promising series of news items to be heard 
in any one evening since the transfer of power. First 
there is the Standstill Agreement with Hyderabad. Mount- 
batten on his return from London has— as, Patel announc- 
ed in the Legislative Assembly yesterday — seen the Hy- 
derabad delegation "for the last time", and precisely the 
same Agreement is being taken back for the Nizam's sig- 
nature as a month ago. 

Secondly, Nehru has made an important statement oit 
Kashmir, which, while it once more accuses Pakistan of 
conniving at invasion, indirectly repudiates the recent dan- 
gerous suggestion of Sheikh Abdullah that there might 
now be no need for a referendum. If Nehru had not 
done this promptly, Mountbatten's own position would 
have been very difficult. Nehru has simply repeated the 
terms on which Accession had been accepted— that is, an 
Interim Government followed by reference to the popular 
will under an impartial tribunal. He rejects the doctrine 
of a simultaneous withdrawal of troops as providing in 
itself mere confirmation of Pakistan's connivance. 

The third item of good news is a Joint Defence Coun- 
cil meeting, with Liaquat coming to Delhi to-morrow for 
it. This will be the first personal encounter between the 
two Prime Ministers since the Kashmir invasion. 

Finally from Karachi comes the official announcement 
of the intention to disband the All India Moslem League 


and to confine the operations of the League to Pakistan. 
This is an enlightened decision which will help to free 
many of the forty million Moslems living in India from 
a difficult double allegiance. As such, it is a powerful 
and timely contribution to peace in the sub-continent. 


Saturday, 29th November, 1947 
The Nizam has signed at last, and Patel has made a 
good statement paying tribute to Mountbatten for his de- 
cisive role in the negotiations. Certainly patience has 
been called for in dealine with the old Nizam, who ad- 
heres stubbornly to the methods of traditional oriental 
diplomacy. Wholly divorced from the developments of 
the outside world, he seems incapable of taking any deci- 
sion until he has enmeshed himself in the webs of his 
own intrigues. 

It has been a niggling operation until the last. When 
the delegation had their final meeting with Mountbatten 
on Tuesday they began pleading for very minor amend- 
ments such as the substitution of "will" for "shall", and 
finally even a semi-colon for a comma, in a desperate 
effort to justify their existence and make good the asser- 
tion that the Government of India had agreed to changes 
in the text approved by their predecessors. It was for 
this reason that Mountbatten was at pains to stress that he 
would not agree to the change of even a comma. Some 
small amendments in the collateral letter were accepted, 
but here India stood firm in refusing to allow Hyderabad 
to have its own diplomatic representation. 

The Ittehad and its extremist leader, Kasim Razvi — 
who was incidentally in Delhi during the last bout of 
negotiation — can claim no more than that the Standstill 
Agreement has been brought about by a purely Hydera- 
badi delegation. But this face-saving device has been 
effected only at the expense of PateFs confidence in the 
Nizam and his intentions. For all that, the Standstill 



Agreement allows a breathing space of a year for heads 
to cool and hearts to soften. 


Monday, 1st December, 1947 
The London Press is beginning to comment on the re- 
cent signs of an Indo-Pakistan detente. First fruit of the 
Standstill Agreement with Hyderabad is the Nizam's de- 
cision to release the local Congress political prisoners. 
Most of the key men, including Swami Ramanand Tilth, 
the President of the State Congress, have been under ar- 
icst during the negotiations. 


Saturday, 6th December, 1947 
Nehru has made a major statement on Foreign policy 
to the Legislative Assembly. This is the field in which 
his mind can spread itself, and I suspect that he gets the 
deepest satisfaction from being the Foreign Minister in 
his own Government. He is making a determined bid 
to keep India out of the scramble of power politics. He 
hotly denies that his aim is neutrality, but its broad effect 
will be something very like it. He calls for co-operation 
with both the United States of America and Russia, and 
makes no reference to Britain or the Commonwealth, be- 
yond saying that he hopes to improve India's relations with 
some Commonwealth members, which would seem to im- 
ply a flank attack on South Africa. 

In a reference to the decision taken by the United 
Nations over the partition of Palestine, Nehru commend- 
ed the Indian proposal for two autonomous States within 
a federation. This, he asserted, is regarded in United 
Nations circles as wiser than partition, which had already 
led to so much trouble and would lead to more. India, 
he added, would gain in prestige by taking an independ- 
ent line in this way on major issues of world policy. He 
made the point that politically Foreign policy depended 



on economic trends within a country. India's economic 
policies were not yet fixed, but had been diverted by the 
pressing needs of the immediate internal crisis. 

At the same time, Asaf Ali, Nehru's first Ambassador 
to the United States, bids in Washington for American 
financial backing, urging that India was solvent and a 
good market. Asked about Indo-Pakistan relations, he 
replied he expected they would be close — at any rate at 
I he economic level. 


Thursday, lltk December, 1947 
I have been acquainting myself fully from the records, 
and from a long talk 1 have had with Mountbatten on 
the varying and often dramatic developments in the Kash- 
mir situation over the past fortnight, during which time 
there seems to have been almost a year of diplomatic 
effort. Mountbatten has struggled with what I can only 
describe as heroic zeal to close this breach and prevent 
the whole sub-continent falling apart from a mono-maniac 
obsession over the political future of a single Indian State, 
import ant enough in itself, but containing only four mil- 
lion out of its four hundred million inhabitants. 

One of Jsmay's most important contributions to peace 
was the part he played both early in November and dur- 
ing the "cordial" talks between Liaquat and Nehru in 
Delhi only last week. Yet again Mountbatten had great 
difficulty in bringing the leaders together, as yet again 
Liaquat prefaced the meeting with a telegram designed 
to infuriate Nehru, to whom it was this time directly ad- 
dressed. He has ,pnee more described Abdullah as a 
''Quisling", has accused the Indian Government of at- 
tempting to eliminate the whole Moslem population of 
the State, and repeated his demand for setting up an im- 
partial independent administration immediately. 

Nehru fortunately is not the man to let his justifiable 
indignation degenerate into false pride, and Mountbatten 
duly prevailed on the two Prime Ministers to have their 



first man-to-man talk on Kashmir since its accession. 
After a long preliminary presentation of his case by Nehru, 
Liaquat, who was obviously very tired and weak after 
his recent illness, managed to ask a number of pertinent 
questions and to put forward proposals which Nehru pro- 
mised to consider. Ismay, with his own outstanding skill 
and experience in the drafting of high-level formula and 
with the support of V. P. and Mohammed Ali on behalf 
of the two Governments, at once put these proposals into 
more formal shape, and they provided the basis for four 
further meetings during the next two days. 

Briefly the proposals were: that Pakistan should use 
all her influence to persuade the rebel "Azad Kashmir' 
forces to cease fighting and the tribesmen and other "in- 
vaders" to withdraw from Kashmir territory as quickly 
as possible and to prevent further incursions. India 
should withdraw the bulk of her forces, leaving only small 
detachments of minimum strength to deal with disturb- 
ances. The United Nations Organisation should be ask- 
ed to send a commission to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir 
and to* recommend to India, Pakistan and Kashmir, be- 
fore it was held, steps which should be taken to ensure 
that it was fair and unfettered. Certain steps which it 
was intended to take towards this object, such as the 
release of political prisoners and the return of refugees, 
should be published right away. 

With Ismay's help the position reached at the end of 
the talks was that, while there was no definite agreement, 
Nehru's criticisms were confined to detail. Liaquat, for 
his part, who came to Delhi insisting on the complete 
withdrawal by both sides, an impartial administration be- 
fore a plebiscite, and an impartial plebiscite, only fully 
gained the last and partially gained the first of these con- 
ditions. He thus showed himself ready to make a con- 
cession of principle. Ismay left quite convinced that the 
formula was both on political and administrative grounds 
a workable solution and the only one that has so far 
been propounded. The atmosphere when Ismay left was 


promising. It seemed that the foundations had been well 
and truly laid; but conciliation is heartbreaking work. 

Two days ago, and only two hours after Mohammed 
Ali, who had stayed on, was airborne for Karachi, Mount- 
batten was present at what he has described to me as 
one of the most depressing meetings it has ever been his 
Jot to preside over. For the second time Patel and Bal- 
dev Singh appeared before the Defence Committee as 
messengers of woe. They had just returned from the 
front, and the reports they brought back, together with 
independent information reaching Nehru, hardened the 
Cabinet's heart against agreeing to the immediate plebis- 
cite, or even, for the present, to continuing negotiations. 
The grievance was three-fold. First, reports of large con- 
centrations of invaders, including tribesmen in the West 
Punjab; secondly, the allegation that Liaquat had no 
sooner left Delhi than he had done all in his power to 
encourage new raiders to invade the State; and thirdly, 
and perhaps more emotionally disturbing, continuing 
stories of ghastly atrocities, including the wholesale mur- 
der of non- Moslems and the selling of Kashmir* girls. 

Contact was only resumed as a result of Mountbattcn 
planting a discreel suggestion with Liaqual that he should 
telegraph Nehru confirming the date for a resumption of 
negotiations. Liaquat did this, urging that the only way 
lor bloodshed to be stopped was for the representatives 
of the two Governments to continue to meet together. 
Nehru at once responded to the spirit of this message 
,and accompanied Mountbattcn to Lahore for last Mon- 
day's Joint Defence Council. 

The discussion en Kashmir lasted, with a break for a 
dinner-party, from three in the afternoon until midnight 
— seven hours in all. This meeting took place in a gene- 
rally friendly atmosphere, with only occasional outbursts. 
None-the-less it convinced Mountbatten, who tried every 
means he knew of reconciling the divergent views, that 
the deadlock was so complete, and the political pressures 
both internal and external so intense, that only the in- 



traduction of a third party with international authority 
acting in an agreed capacity could now break it. 

At this point, therefore, Mountbatten injected the sug- 
gestion that the United Nations Organisation might, be 
called upon to fill the third-party role. Liaquat welcom- 
ed the proposal as strengthening his hand in any action 
needed to call a halt to the raiders. He did not, inci- 
dentally, confirm Jinnah's assertion that they could be 
called off by command simply from Karachi. Nehru want- 
ed to know under what section of the Charier any refer- 
ence to U.N.O. could be made. As it was now midnight, 
Mountbalten suggested that a further study should be 
made of this point. Nehru nodded his head wearily, and 
the meeting ended with the project left open. 

Since returning to Delhi, Mountbatten has seen Gandhi 
and V. P., who are both favourably inclined to the in- 
vocation of U.N.O. , and to-day he has had a further talk 
with Nehru, whose attitude to the idea is now less negative 
than it was at Lahore. 

To-night there was a dinner for the Diplomatic Corps, 
followed by a showing at Government House cinema of 
the film of the Royal Wedding. There was also shown 
an Indian Government film on Kashmir of doubtful qua- 
lity or propaganda value. There was a glorious shot of 
various sub-human types described as "captured tribes- 
men", in the midst of whom could be discerned the mild 
features and modest figure of Eric Britter of The 
/ lnies: 


Sunday, 21st December. 1947 
1 had an interesting talk with Sri Krishna, one of the 
best informed of the Delhi political correspondents. His 
reports are syndicated to a large number of English and 
vernacular newspapers. The line he took is symptomatic 
of the new spirit of self -analysis which has come with 
Independence. Frank criticisms which were reserved cx- 



clusively by the Nationalist Press for the British Raj are 
now directed towards fresh targets;. 

He referred to reports of a split in the Cabinet, and 
claimed that the immediate cause of tension between 
Nehru and Patel was the action of Maulana Azad, the 
Minister of Education in the Cabinet. Patel has recently 
set up a sub-committee consisting of H. M. Patel, V. P., 
and Bannerjee to vet the appointment of all higher-grade 
civil servants. Azad has just appointed the well-known 
scientist Bhatnagar, who is not a career man, as the Prin- 
cipal Secretary to his Ministry, without reference to this 
sub-committee. There is also a dispute over the status 
and function of the famous Moslem seminary, Aligarb 
University, which remains on the Indian side of the bor- 
der. • 

Maulana Azad, a great scholar and a man of retiring 
disposition, has during the past ten years been a central 
figure of controversy. As the leading Moslem Congress- 
man and as President of the Congress throughout the war, 
he was titular head of the movement during the vital 
negotiations with both the Cripps and Cabinet Missions. 
He embodied in his position and person perhaps the most 
important symbol of the Congress aspiration to be a na- 
tionalist as against a communal party. His status was 
thus the focal point of Gandhi's clash with Jinnah, who 
always maintained that politically no one but a member 
of the Moslem League could represent Moslem interests. 


Monday, 22nd December, J 947 
I had a most revealing talk to-day with Robert Stimson 
of the B.B.C., who has just returned from a fortnight's 
coverage based on Karachi. During his stay he had an 
important interview with Jinnah, who covered the theme 
of Pakistan's staying in the Commonwealth and duly com- 
plained of "British neglect". From what Stimson tells 
me, there can be little doubt but that Jinnah himself is 
the spearhead and inspirer of the anti-Mountbatten cam- 



paign which is now being developed in Pakistan. The 
attack is not concentrated on any single grievance or cri- 
ticism, but is designed to exploit over a wide front Mount- 
batten's vulnerable position as Governor-General of only 
one Dominion and to create the general impression of a 
man who is anti-Moslem and pro-Hindu. 

Although it is privately recognised in responsible circles 
there that Mountbatten is a moderating influence, Jinnah 
seems to have reached the firm conclusion that Mountbat- 
ten's continued presence as Governor-General is operat- 
ing against Pakistan's interest, particularly in terms of 
her relations with the rest of the Commonwealth. Stim- 
son agrees that Jinnah's attacks on Mountbatten are the 
corollary to his reproaches about British neglect. The 
criticisms are being duly reflected at lower levels and 
among European "old koi hais". Complaints were dir- 
ected in particular against Mountbatten's reference in a 
speech during his recent London visit to only three per 
cent of the Indian sub-continent being affected by the 
recent disturbances. This is not surprising, for perspec- 
tive is rarely acceptable either to ihe purveyors or con- 
sumers of prejudice. 

Stimson's general impression was that, subject to four 
great queries, Pakistan was perhaps a stronger entity than 
some of the critics recognised. Those queries were: 
whether she could avoid war; whether Jinnali had long 
to live (in Stimson's opinion he looked fitter than in 
August, and he was himself at pains to say that he hoped 
to be operating for at least twelve years); whether she 
could secure economic support, and whether she could 
retain any of her Hindus. 

He thought that the Sindi Moslems were not so bitter 
as those in the West Punjab, and although Karachi was 
safer for Hindus than Delhi was for Moslems, the Hindus 
there were under a constant cloud of threat and petly 
persecution. A good deal of the rice crop had not been 
gathered in. There had been a wholesale exodus of bank 


staffs and a complete breakdown of the Hindu economy, 
on which so much of the State depended. 

Stimson was astounded at what he called the fantastic 
optimism of the old guard, but there was as well a core 
of young, efficient and incorruptible Moslem leaders im- 
bued with a sense of mission who were determined to 
make the new State work. Everything depended on 
whether they could succeed. 

On Saturday the Indian Cabinet finally decided to ap- 
peal to ihc United Nations accusing Pakistan of helping 
the raiders. Liaquat and Mohammed Ali have been in 
Delhi since last evening, but nothing has emerged from 
yesterday's or to-day's discussions which makes it pos- 
sible to cancel or postpone this sombre decision. Most 
of the time has been taken up by the usual atrocity claim 
and counter-claim. Nehru to-day handed in the official 
letter of complaint which is a necessary preliminary to a 
reference to the United Nations. Liaquat promised a 
reply in due course. So ends the first phase of the poli- 
tical and diplomatic struggle over Kashmir. 


Friday, 26th December, 1947 
Following the failure of the Delhi talks with Liaquat 
earlier in the week, a very critical situation has develop- 
ed both over Kashmir and the payment of the cash bal- 
ances. Mountbatten's warnings about the dangers and 
limitations of Kashmir as a battle-ground are being all 
too quickly borne out. Indian troops in Kashmir suffer 
a similar handicap to the Russian forces in Finland dur- 
ing 1939, when Russian superiority in man- and weapon- 
power was largely offset by the nature of the terrain. 

The full weight of Mountbatten's military authority is 
against any extension of already vulnerable and tenuous 
lines of communication. Already the outpost garrisons 
are in trouble. The garrison at Poonch is completely cut 
off, save for air supply. Two infantry companies at 
Jhangar, attacked by a force of some six thousand in- 



vaders, have suffered heavy casualties, and a relieving 
force has had to turn back. 

But perhaps the most serious news is of a concentra- 
tion of another formidable enemy force, estimated at six 
thousand, in the Uri area. Uri is the farthest point so 
far reached in the advance towards Domel. Withdrawal 
from Uri would renew the threat to Baramula, Srinagar 
and the Vale all over again.- In Mount bcitterfs view the 
fall of Uri might well give overwhelming impetus to the 
argument, stressed with ever-increasing insistence in Gov- 
ernment circles, that the only way to deal effectively with 
the raiders is to occupy their bases or "nerve-centres" in- 
side West Punjab - and this would mean war. 

Mountbatten had a private staff meeting at 1 1 .30 this 
morning with Ronnie, Vernon and myself— V. P. joining 
us. It was quite like old times. We discussed the draft 
of a letter he has prepared over Christmas Day to Nehru 
urging the overwhelming need for caution and restraint. 
I suggested a new paragraph to stress how embroilment 
in war with Pakistan would undermine the whole of 
Nehru's independent Foreign policy and progressive so- 
cial aspirations. V. P. thought the revision an improve- 
ment, and Mountbatten agreed to its inclusion. 

I honestly believe that this letter as finally dispatched 
will stand the scrutiny of history and should serve to 
steady and strengthen Nehru in handling a problem of 
peculiar personal intensity. His origins as a descendant 
of Kashmiri Brahmins, his friendship and political as- 
sociation with Sheikh Abdullah make it difficult for him 
to stand above this problem at the moment of decision. 

Towards the end of September in a letter to my mother 
I wrote: — 

"F should say that Nehru has never shown io better 
advantage than during the past months. He has moral 
and spiritual reserves which seem to enable him to stand 
above the day-to-day administrative crisis and to resist 
the psychological pressures." 



Mountbatten's signature as well as his own from those 
which did not. 


Tuesday, 30th December, 1947 
f have just read in The Spectator an interesting appre- 
ciation of Wavell's and Mountbatten's handling of the 
Indian situation by Brigadier Desmond Young, who was. 
for some time in charge of Public Relations at G.H.Q. 
India when Lord Wavell was Commander-in-Chief. 

"The impact", he writes, "of Lord Mountbatten's 
forceful personality and astonishing energy produced elec- 
trifying results. He swept the Indian Leaders along at 
such a speed that they had no time to draw breath to 
quibble. In this highly charged atmosphere Partition was 
rushed through before the Hindu hatred of the idea had 
time to gather weight." He then turns, however, to what 
he calls^Mountbatten's "two mistakes". "First," he as- 
serts, "he was not only to consent to splitting the Indian 
Army but also to insist on accelerating the process. The 
ideal would have been to retain the Army intact under 
Field Marshal Auchinlcck for two years from Independ- 
ence Day to assist the two Governments impartially in the 
maintenance of order. His second mistake was to accept 
the Governor-Generalship of the Indian Union when Pa- 
kistan refused a Joint Governor-General. His acceptance, 
perhaps under pressure from His Majesty's Government, 
inevitably put him in a false position in the eyes of Mos- 
lems when the trouble started." 

In view of the* source and possible currency of these 
two particular criticisms I have written to Joyce in Lon- 
don as follows: — 

**I need hardly stress that Mountbatten and Ismay 
would have fervently welcomed any practicable arrange- 
ment for Auchinleck to stay on, but it was Jinnah who 



was most insistent of all in refusing to have anything 
to do with the retention of a joint military system after 
the transfer of power and in demanding the immediate 
creation of the Pakistan Army. The break-up of the 
Supreme Command was expedited not only at the re- 
quest of the Government of India, without whose good- 
will Pakistan's interest in the matter would not have been 
.served, but also at Auchinleck's. own recommendation. 
In any case, Pakistan's objection as stated by Liaquat to 
Mountbatten was based on a completely inflated concept 
of the Command's real powers." 

As for the second "mistake", after referring to the 
highly embarrassing implications of Jinnah's last-minute 
rejection of the Joint Governor-Generalship ] have point- 
ed out: — 

"The Congress offer to Mountbatten was made without 
any strings attached to it, and quite apart from possible 
Moslem reactions, it is certain that Congress opinion would, 
with far more justice, have objected to his refusing theii 
offer simply because the Moslem League had not invited 
him as well. But the true position about the Moslem 
attitude is that a dominant factor in Mountbatten's deci- 
sion to accept the Indian invitation was the pressing piea 
of both Jinnah and Liaquat made on their own and Paki- 
stan's behalf that he should do so. There is'no reason 
to doubt but that their request was made in anticipation 
of trouble ahead. So if Mountbatten is now placed in 
a false position with Moslem opinion, the remedy rests 
with those responsible for guiding it in Pakistan." 


Wednesday, 3 1st December, 1947 
1947 ends in foreboding over the future of lndo-Pakistan 
relations generally and Kashmir in particular. It is diffi- 
cult to stand back and assess the credit and debit balance 
of our last nine prodigious months in India. The imme- 


diate situation seems always to overwhelm our thoughts 
and attention. The occupational risk is to be preoccu- 
pied with the daily task. 

Over Kashmir at least we go forward into 1948 with 
some clarification of the crisis. Attlee has, as Mountbat- 
ten anticipated, turned down the proposal of a lightning 
personal intervention, feeling that there is no specific 
role which he would be able to play save that of con- 
ciliator in general terms, and he prefers to rely on the 
"proper channels" of the United Nations. He has, how- 
ever, sent an excellently worded message to Nehru urging 

On receipt of his reply the Government have decided 
to proceed with their appeal to the United Nations with- 
out waiting any longer for Liaquat's reply. The word- 
ing of the complaint, which has been drafted while Mount- 
batten is still in Gwalior, is moderate in tone save for 
one disquieting phrase which reserves freedom of military 
action to the Government if the situation requires it. 
Mountbatten has pointed out that the Security Council 
Committee cannot be expected to react favourably to a 
threat or even the hint of one. 

Mountbatten has done everything in his power to urge 
on Nehru what an invasion of Pakistan territory would 
mean, particularly as the whole problem at India's re- 
quest is sub judice. Quite apart from the catastrophic 
effect on world opinion, it would involve the automatic 
departure of British officers serving with both Dominions. 
This in itself might well, I suppose, work more imme- 
diately against Pakistan's interest than India's, but in any 
case f think Nehru is well aware that any such move 
would mean that Mountbalten's mission would be at an 

Liaquat's reply to Nehru's formal letter of complaint 
came in just after the dispatch of the Indian reference 
to the United Nations. It is a lengthy catalogue of coun- 
ter-charge deliberately not confined to Kashmir, but rang- 



ing over the general theme of India's refusal to accept 
Partition and resolve to destroy Pakistan. He wants the 
intervention of the United Nations to extend from Juna- 
gadh to genocide, "so that all pending differences may 
be possibly resolved".. 

As a footnote to these international developments it is 
encouraging to learn from the situation reports that no 
attack has developed on Uri, and that the Indian troops 
there have made no contact with hostile forces, for 
Mountbatten continues to feel that this would be the 
event which might well touch off the wider conflict. My 
new year motto is Ismay's "Patience and proportion". 
Clearly we shall need more than our ration of both in 
the coming year. 




Wednesday, 7th January, 1948 
With the willing concurrence of Patel, the Minister for 
States, Mountbatten is meeting the major and minor 
Princes in two separate conclaves at Government House 
this week, and once again is trying to provide them with 
the impetus which seems to be so sadly lacking from 
within their own ranks. He urged upon the major Princes 
to-day the desirability of forming a committee of privi- 
leges to regulate the conduct of their dynastic affairs. 

During the general discussion Aiwar alone saw fit to 
remonstrate. In a high-pitched and querulous voice, he 
observed, "if the people wish to live in hell, one .should 
not compel them to live in paradise". When Mount- 
batten was trying patiently to explain the advantages of 
the Princes and their families entering the Indian Union 
Diplomatic Service, Alwar interrupted him to say, "This 


should not be a favour. If Menon can be States Secre- 
tary, why not Bikaner?" "I am not here dispensing 
favours," Mountbatten replied sharply; "1 am just trying 
to make common-sense of the situation." I noticed, in- 
cidentally, that at the morning meeting Bhopal gave V. P. 
a brotherly embrace, which is usually reserved for a salu- 
tation from one Prince to another. 


Friday, 9th January, 1948 
Patrick Maitland, editor of The Fleet Street Letter, 
whom I met on my last visit to London, has written asking 
me a number of questions for background guidance. Seek- 
ing my views on the prospects in Kashmir, he asks, "Is 
this conflict going to drag on for many months, and even 
for years, does the Indian Government honestly suppose 
it will gain anything by going to the Security Council, or 
are the Indian forces in such an unfavourable military 
position that the Indian Government has taken this course 
in desperation?" 

I have replied, "The general perspective in which 1 see 
the conflict from here is that Kashmir is really the last 
major outstanding issue between the two Dominions. If 
one could achieve the basic solution here, everything else 
would fit into place. The battle-ground is not of India's 
choosing, is at the end of long and bad lines of communi- 
cation and is one in which it will always be difficult for 
her to deploy her full strength. Therefore from the mili- 
tary point of view we could anticipate a protracted strug- 
gle. The problem^ however, is essentially political, and 
centres round the will and capability of both sides to give 
effect to a cease-fire. In this respect it is somewhat similar 
to the Indonesian dispute. 

"I think it would be quite wrong to indicate that India 
is appealing to the United Nations as the result of military 
desperation. On the contrary, India feels that she. has a 
very strong case both morally and in law, and that the 
•Security Council is the proper forum in which to present 



il. Perhaps the most dangerous feature of the situation 
is unwillingness to recognise what the cost of failure would 
be or to appreciate that a war on this issue between the 
two Dominions would surely bring the sub-continent into 
the vortex of the world power politics struggle." 


Saturday, l()th January, 1948 
This afternoon Mountbatten completed Part Two of his 
exhortation to the Princes. This time he spoke to some 
fifty of the minor biethrcn or their representatives, arguing 
once more the wisdom and virtues of mcdiatisation and 
urging again as precedent the example of the German 
principalities and the settlement they made with Napo- 
leon's Confederation of the Rhine. Many of the rulers 
whose knowledge of history and political theory had been 
severely taxed came away from the conference blinking 
as thouim having looked too lone at a bright lieht. But 
I think it is fair to say that a tew of the more discerning 
members are alive to the sense and value of his advice. 

To-night the Mountbattens gave a dinner-party to the 
Princes. It is good to find His Highness of Dholpur at 
Government House in the thick of all the discussions, 
for when 1 last saw him in July he had given me the im- 
pression that he would retire to his State and never be 
seen in Delhi again. 1 had a talk with him after dinner, 
and he is worried about agitations which he feels the Con- 
gress arc inspiring in his and neighbouring States. When 
I asked him whether he had any details, the only instance 
he gave was a recent inflammatory speech by Dr. Lohia 
in Gwalior. Dr. Lohia, however, is one of the leaders of 
Jai Prakash Narain's Socialist wing of the Congress, which 
may soon be splitting off altogether from the Congress 
movement. They have, in fact, been opposed to Mount- 
batten's and PatePs Accession policy, and by no stretch 
of imagination can they be regarded as agents of Patcl 
or the States Ministry. 




Monday, 12th January, 1948 
The first news that Gandhi is to begin another of his 
major fasts unto death came through to me at a Press 
party at the Delhi Gymkhana" Club. The startling sud- 
denness, of the announcement at his Prayer Meeting made 
its intended impact on all of us. J was particularly sur- 
prised, as earlier in the evening, on returning from a game 
of squash with Vernon, I had passed the french windows 
of Mountbatten\s study, and could see Gandhi there with 
him for an interview which 1 was aware had been arranged 
at short notice but did not understand to have any special 

He had, in fact, come round to see Mountbatten im- 
mediately after his Prayer Meeting, at which he had de- 
clared that the fast would end "if and when I am satisfied 
that there is a reunion of hearts of all communities brought 
about without any outside pressure but from an awakened 
sense of duty. . . . With God as my supreme and sole coun- 
sellor I felt that I must take the decision without any other 
adviser.*' Indeed, prior to the Prayer Meeting he had been 
observing a day of silence, with the result that neither 
Nehru nor Patel was informed in advance of his proposed 
course of action. He then went on to lay bare his pro- 
found unhappiness at the continuing bad communal at- 
mosphere in Delhi, which seemed to prevail at all levels 
of life, and his resolve to meet this situation by his own 
chosen act of atonement. 

During this talk with Mountbatten, Gandhi went out 
of his way to ask for a frank opinion about India's refusal 
to pay to Pakistafi the fifty-five crores from the cash 
balances, which Mountbatten did not hesitate to give him, 
saying that he considered the step to be both unstatesman- 
like and unwise. Gandhi said that he proposed to take 
the matter up with Nehru and Patel, and added that he 
would make it clear to them it was he who had initiated 
the inquiry and sought Mountbatten *s views. 


As for the fast, Mountbatten at once realised that n 
would be impossible for him to challenge the dictates of 
Gandhi's conscience, and told him without hesitation that 
he welcomed his brave move, and earnestly hoped that it 
would serve to create the new spirit that was so badly 
needed. On this note of fellowship and understanding 
Gandhi left to give effect to his great decision. The fast 
is due to begin at eleven o'clock to-morrow morning. 

At the Gymkhana Club the party fairly quickly dis- 
solved, as various correspondents went back to file their 
reports and interpretations of the act. The general im- 
pression was that the fast was well-timed and that nothing 
less drastic would regain for the Mahatma the psychologi- 
cal ascendancy achieved in Calcutta. Much would turn 
upon the attitude of the Sikhs, over whom Gandhi had 
so far been unable to exercise the same measure of in- 
fluence as over Hindus and Moslems. Throughout his 
stay in Delhi there had, of course, been the ever-increas- 
ing pressure of Sikh refugees from the East Punjab upon 
the capital. 

There was also considerable speculation about the mean- 
ing and effect of Gandhi's move in terms both of his own 
and Nehru's relations with Patel. Gandhi's intervention 
over the unilateral proposal to impose a sanction against 
Pakistan by withholding the fifty-five crores under the 
partition of assets is likely to give edge to a Government 
crisis. For he has clearly reacted very strongly against 
this move, and seems to be prepared to face a head-on 
collision with Patel about it. 

Nehru and Patel have undoubtedly been drifting apart, 
a process which has a cumulative effect as an ever-grow- 
ing number of followers hitch their wagons to these two 
major stars in the political firmament. The rivalry *is thus 
intensified by their respective satellites. Gandhi may well 
hope by a supreme effort to heal the breach between the 
two great men in the Indian Government, realising that 
he alone has the status to do it, and that if he fails not 


only the Congress Parly but the entire regime would be 
placed in deadly peril. 

' You have to live in the vicinity of a Gandhi fast to 
understand its pulling power. The whole of Gandhi's life 
is a fascinating study in the art of influencing the masses, 
and judging by the success he has achieved in this mysteri- 
ous domain, he must be accounted one of the greatest 
artists in leadership of all time. He has a genius for act- 
ing through symbols which all can understand. Fasting 
as a means of moral pressure and purification is part of 
the fabric of Hindu life. There is the unmistakable sense 
of everyone being drawn out of his preoccupations to 
share in a painful responsibility which no man can wholly 

tiAJNt'K, kikanF'K, Wednesday, 14th January, 1948 
In spite of Gandhi's fast, it has been decided not to 
cancel Mountbalten's long-awaited visit to Bikaner, but 
as a mark of respect for the Mahatma, there will be no 
State banquet. 

Just before our departure Patel and Nehru came along 
separately to see Mountbatten. Their immediate reactions 
to Gandhi's decision are perhaps the best summary of the 
two men's divergence of opinion and outlook at this time. 
Patel complained that the timing of the fast was hope- 
lessly wrong, and that it was likely to have the opposite 
effect to what the Mahatma hoped from it, whereas Nehru 
could not conceal his pleasure and admiration at Gandhi's 

lallgarh PALACE,* RIKA MR, Friday, 16th January, 1948 
On our return to the Palace, while waiting to go into 
lunch 1 had an illuminating talk with Panikkar, who is 
still serving as the Maharaja's Dewan. He was optimistic 
about the outcome of Gandhi's fast, which in his view 
was undoubtedly directed at Patel. He added there was 
a definite clash between Patel and Gandhi when Gandhi 



arrived in Delhi three months ago. Gandhi said then, 
"Vallabhbhai, I always thought you and 1 were one. 1 
begin to see that we are two." Palel was in tears over 
his misunderstanding with Bapu.* 

Panikkar interprets the relationship thus, Patel, al- 
though controlling the machine, is aware that Gandhi is 
still master of the masses, and that he could never hope, 
even if he so wished, to break the Mahatma's influence. 
Gandhi on his side is out to strengthen Nehru's hand, yet 
does not want to break Patel in the process, but only to 
bring him to heel. 

This led Panikkar to pay tribute to Gandhi's political 
acumen. He said he had just had his first meeting with 
him after a gap of some twenty years, and had urged him 
to go slow in his campaign for constitutional development 
within the States. Gandhi protested, "You are asking 
me to crystallise reaction." 41 1 had no answer to this/* 
said Panikkar. "Jt was true." Gandhi's habit, he added, 
was to speak the language of his audience. Thus it was 
that such occasions as his Prayer Meetings were deceptive 
in their simplicity. In private conversation he was ex- 
tremely acute. He also stressed that Gandhi is backed by 
what he called a remarkable intelligence system. Personal 
letters come pouring in to him from all parts of Jndia 
reporting on the state of the nation. 

We heard this afternoon that the Cabinet decided to 
transfer the fifty-five crores to Pakistan as a gesture of 
good-will. After the film-show to-night Mountbatten said 
This was the best news in three months. But Panikkar 
expressed concern to me about Patel 's possible reaction to 
the decision. 

Mountbatten spent a very useful (me and a half hours 
in conversation with Panikkar this afternoon. This I be- 
lieve the first full-length meeting they have had for some 
time. The more T see of Panikkar the more impressed 

* Bapu meaning Father— a term of endearment used to des- 
cribe Mahatma Gandhi by many of his followers as well as in 
the Indian Press. 


1 am by his intellectual power and political shrewdness. 
He is the rare blend of the scholar and man of affairs who 
can bring his profound knowledge of history to the service 
of contemporary events. He is one of about half a dozen 
men who may well have a great influence in the shaping 
of Indian policy at home and abroad. He has his enemies, 
and there are some who assert that he is ambitious and 
untrustworthy, but I suspect that he suffers from the jeal- 
ousy of those who resent being confronted with a superior 
intellect. It is the occupational risk of very clever men 
to be regarded as dangerous by their less gifted brethren. 

Panikkar tells me that his advice was that Mountbatten 
should give top priority to the wider problem of Indo- 
British relations rather than to the specific Dominion 
Status issue. He stressed that Nehru was now more firmly 
persuaded of the need for Indo-Brilish understanding. He 
hoped that Mountbatten would not be leaving until the 
broad principles had been settled. Mountbatten has sug- 
gested that Panikkar should accompany Nehru on his 
proposed visit to London in February, and should remain 
as a constitutional adviser to the Central Government 
rather than leave for China.* His instinct, however, is 
to leave India for a couple of years, and not get too close- 
ly caught up in the political imbroglio. 


Saturday, 17th January, 1948 
We left for Delhi first thing in the morning, duly im- 
pressed by this example of Princely hospitality. Bikaner 
blends tradition with reform, and is setting a good ex- 
ample to his fellow-rulers in promoting his subjects' social 

* Panikkar duly became the first Indian Ambassador to China, 
originally to the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai Shek. 
After its overthrow on the Chinese mainland Panikkar's general 
prestige was such that Nehru was able to send him as first Am- 
bassador to the Chinese Peoples Republic, where he presented 
his credentials to Mao Tse Tung. In this position he was destined 
to act as a vital link between East and West both before and 
during the Korean crisis. 



solidarity among themselves and their political loyalty to 
the new dispensation. 

Shortly after our return the Mountbattens called on 
Gandhi at Birla House. He is by now very weak. After 
he had greeted them with the words, "It takes a fast to 
bring you to me", they had a brief discussion on the pos- 
sibilities of breaking it. Gandhi said he had laid down 
seven conditions, all affecting the basic security and civil 
rights of Moslems both in Delhi and India as a whole, 
which would have to be implemented before he could be 
induced to call it off. 




Sunday, 18th January, 1948 
Foli,owing the Cabinet's decision over the fifty-five 
crores, an inter-communal Peace Committee was set up 
under the direction of Prasad and Maulana Azad. It act- 
ed with commendable energy, and this morning succeeded 
in convincing the Mahalma that the necessary change of 
heart had taken place in Delhi to enable him to break his 
fast, which had lasted for a hundred and twenty-one and 
a half hours and had drawn deeply upon the frail little 
man's reserves of strength. 

The fast has undoubtedly done much to raise Moslem 
morale; but there were signs of Sikh resliveness, and bands 
of Sikhs carrying black banners passed outside Birla House 
chanting "Let Gandhi die". Sikh representatives, how- 
ever, duly took their part on the Peace Committee. 

In a message he sent to his Prayer Meeting this evening 
he declared that if the pledge was fulfilled it would revive 
with redoubled force his "intense wish and prayer before 
God to be able to live the full span of life doing service 
M. M. — 11 



to humanity to the last moment. That span, according to 
learned opinion, is at least one hundred and twenty-five 
years, some say one hundred and thirty-three." 


Monday, 19th January, J94S 
Vincent Sheean, who is on a special visit here for a 
number of American papers "in search of more history", 
and Bob Neville, the Delhi correspondent of Time and 
Life, had lunch with us to-day. Discussing the fast, 
Sheean, who clearly revels in original theories, thinks 
Gandhi gave it up— although he would never consciously 
admit it — because of the change in the weather. The sun 
did not shine, and Gandhi had been going out and sun- 
bathing. This would be God's way of telling his inner 
voice to relent and break fast. There has always been a 
close relationship between mystics and meteorology. He 
says he told Ed Snow about this before the fast was ended. 
Both agreed that Gandhi's fast is a phenomenal event 
which argues the vital power of religion. Neville stressed 
how Roosevelt always tried tft bring religion into his 

They were both eye-witnesses of incidents which must 
surely place Nehru among the most informal and delight- 
ful of the world's great men. Neville told how Nehru 
disposed of a man who was lying down in the road in 
front of Birla House and stopping all the traffic from 
coming or going. The man described himself as "the 
voice of Krishna". After some fruitless argument Nehru 
picked him up by the fect and pulled him away, rubbed 
his hands and walked off as if nothihg had happened! 

Sheean in the course of an interview at the Prime Mini- 
ster's house was taken into the dining-room by Nehru to 
see a Chinese painting. While groping about for the 
light, Nehru stumbled over the body of a man asleep on 
the floor. "Someone is asleep here," he said, and pro- 
ceeded to carry on the rest of the conversation in whispers! 




Tuesday. 20th January, 1948 
Rejoicing over Gandhi's survival from his fasting ordeal 
were marred to-day by a bomb incident in the garden of 
Birla House. The bomb, a home-made affair, went off 
during the first Prayer Meeting which Gandhi has attend- 
ed since the ending of his fast. The force of Us explosion, 
however, was broken by a wall, which was slightly dam- 
aged. No one was hurt, and there was no panic, Gandhi 
continuing to conduct the meeting without showing any 
sign of awareness that anything untoward had happened. 
Jndeed, Lady Mountbatten, who went straight round to 
visit him, found him wholly unperturbed. He told her 
he thought that "military manoeuvres must have been tak- 
ing place somewhere in the vicinity". 


Monday, 26th January, 1948 
The injection of the United Nations into the Kashmir 
crisis has slowed down the tempo of the political dispute 
almost as effectively as the weather has blanketed the 
military operations. The first session of the Security 
Council did not take place until the 15th January. 
After full-length statements of case and a series of pri- 
vate conferences, a preliminary resolution setting up a 
commission was passed on the 20th. It has always been 
Mountbatten's hope in supporting a reference to the 
United Nations that it would lead to the earliest possible 
dispatch of a commission— certainly by the end of Janu- 
ary—to the scene of the conflict; but it now seems that 
the Security Council are settling down to seek an agreed 
resolution on the general issues of principle beforehand. 
Lf this proves to be the case then a big political opportu- 
nity may well have been missed and a serious psycho- 
logical blunder committed. 

The Indian and Pakistan "Heads of Proposals" bring 
out two main points of difference in their answers to the 
questions,, what, if any, troops are to remain in Kashmir 



before the plebiscite is held, and should the existing ad- 
ministration be changed? India wants the present ad- 
ministration to be transformed into a Council of Mini- 
sters under Abdullah's leadership. This Council should 
then convene a National Assembly elected on Propor- 
tional Representation. This Assembly should then elect 
a new Government, which should hold a plebiscite under 
United Nations control. India insists on the complete 
removal of the tribesmen and the denial to them of Paki- 
stan bases before being ready to consider the withdrawal 
of Tndian troops. 

Pakistan's position is quite simple. Her demand is 
for simultaneous and complete withdrawal of all forces 
and a neutral Administration. At Lake Success this thesis 
is the easier one of the two to present, and certainly for 
the deleeates, several of whom until a lew weeks aao had 
probably never heard of Kashmir save as a lush holiday 
resort, to understand. But unless India can establish 
some early formal recognition of her legal title and moral 
grievance as a plaintilf, we can anticipate an early dis- 
illusionment in Delhi with the processes of the new in- 

agra, Tuesday, 27 th January, 1948 
Kingsley Martin, editor of The New Statesman and 
Nation and a champion of the India League days, is pay- 
ing his first visit to India as the guest of Nehru, who is a 
very old friend of his. At the moment Kingsley is slay- 
ing with us at the Comptroller's House. During the lull 
provided by the Mountbattens' tour of Nagpur I had the 
idea of taking him on a sight-seeing tour of Agra and the 
Taj Mahal, but this was easier said than done, as nearly 
all the Government House transport was temporarily laid 
up. Nehru, on hearing of our dilemma, at- once put a 
car at our disposal, and we drove off down the hot and 
dusty road on our pilgrimage to the shrines of Moghul 



A journey with Kingsley is in itself an education. He 
has tucked away in his memory a whole library of signi- 
ficant facts and experiences to which he can refer at a 
moment's notice. But in spile of many years of hard 
editorial effort, he retains a wonderful boyish zest. J 
suspect that we started out with a certain prejudice against 
the Taj just for being as famous as it is. I had seen it 
once before from the air. when it looked like some mini- 
ature of itself in sugar icing, while on green. 

On reaching Agra, after passing on the way the mighty 
tomb of Akbar, we were pleasurably surprised to find that 
the Taj was off the beaten tourist track, and that its actual 
environs were solitary and unsullied by commercial taint. 
Like all the great Moghul mausoleums, it is enclosed, and. 
like Humayun's tomb in the Lodi Gardens at Delhi, the 
tomb itself is completely invisible until you pass through 
the outer entrance. Then at the first sight the whole 
image is totally revealed. Critical judgment is suspended, 
and as, one walks from shade into light along the formal 
line of cypress trees, the serene splendour of the place 
takes possession of the senses. 

For me the contrast with the aerial vision was com- 
plete; from within it looms very large, and the dazzling 
whiteness is shot through with exquisite inlay, which in- 
cludes words from the Koran engraved in black marble. 
We first saw the Taj in the glow of late afternoon, and 
then returned after dinner to see it under the full moon. 
We both felt that the romantic haze and the blurring of 
outline and detail meant some loss of the aesthetic magic 
of the daylight vision. There were no crowds of sight- 
seers to disturb the stillness, and only the lights of Agra 
and the bend of the River Jumna below recalled us to the 
world of life and movement. 



Friday, 30th January, 1948 
Mountbatten arrived back by air from Madras early 
this afternoon with his two daughters; Lady Mountbatten 


having stayed on to complete engagements. They have 
had another very arduous tour where, it seems, they once 
more received an overwhelming welcome from vast crowds 
that lined the streets wherever they went. At about ten 
to six 1 ran into George Nicholls, who told me that there 
had been an attempt on Gandhi's life, and that he had 
been hit in three places. Half an hour later I heard from 
Pearce, Mountbatten's driver, that Gandhi was dead. 
He had heard the news over the car radio, and told me 
that His Excellency was going round to Birla House im- 

While f was standing by the car, Mountbatten came out 
and motioned me to come with him. He was very tense, 
and spoke in short, staccato sentences. He said that 
Rajagopalachari had rung through from Calcutta impress- 
ing on him the need to take the utmost precautions about 
Nehru. Only two days ago while in Amritsar two men 
had been arrested carrying grenades while he was address- 
ing a public meeting. 

Mountbatten thought this was a most grave develop- 
ment, and that Nehru was now entirely alone and poli- 
tically exposed. Everything depended upon his capacity 
to keep a grip on the situation in the next few hours. 
It was absolutely essential that he should speak to the 
nation at the earliest possible moment, but at the same 
time should give himself the chance to think out what he 
was going to say, because the nation would inevitably 
take its lead from him. 

By the time we had reached Birla House the crowd 
had gathered and was peering into the windows of our 
car, only a few recognising Mountbatten in the dark. All 
was confusion. Young men were milling around in the 
grounds and pressing against the french 'windows. Inside, 
most of the members of the Government and leading 
Congressmen were standing with the listlessness of grief. 
We made our way to what I believe was Gandhi's bed- 
room. There was a smell of incense. Inside the room 
were about forty people, including Nehru and Patel. 



Everyone was in tears. Just outside were numerous san- 
dals which people had taken off before entering the room. 

In the far corner was the body of Gandhi ji. At first 
I thought it was completely covered in a large blanket, 
but then I realised that his head was being held up by one 
of about a dozen women who were seated round him 
chanting prayers and sobbing in a plaintive rhythm. 
Gandhi's face was at peace, and looked rather pale in 
the bright light. Also they had taken away the steel- 
rimmed glasses which had become almost an integral part 
of his features. The smell of the incense, the sound of 
the women's voices, the frail little body, the sleeping face 
and the silent witnesses — this was perhaps the most emo- 
tionally charged moment I have ever experienced. As 1 
stood there 1 felt fear for the future, bewilderment at the 
act, but also a sense of victory rather than defeat; that 
the strength of this little man's ideas and ideals, from 
the very force of the devotion he was commanding here 
and now, would prove too strong for the assassin's bul- 
lets and the ideas they represented. 

After standing for some time in silent homage, we 
moved out into the main hall. As the evening drew on 
the crowds outside multiplied; one could see their faces 
pressed against the windows, and they banged insistently 
upon the glass. Members of the Cabinet were in one 
room, and Mountbatten went in to talk to them. 

I heard Mountbatten saying that at their last interview 
Gandhi had said that his dearest wish was to bring about 
full reconciliation between Nehru and Patel. On hear- 
ing this, they dramatically embraced each other. He 
came out a few moments later, saying that he had succeed- 
ed in getting Patel to broadcast at the same time as Nehru 
to-night. This he felt — with justice — was a most im- 
portant point to have gained. He reiterated that every- 
thing turned on Nehru's gripping, the situation immedia- 

The tension is such that one careless word and rumour 
will spread like a forest fire. Even on our arrival Mount- 



batten was greeted by a scaremonger who told him, "It 
was a Moslem who did it!" At that moment we still did 
not know the religion and name of the assassin, but 
Mountbatten, appreciating that if it was a Moslem we 
were lost anyhow and that nothing could then avert the 
most disastrous civil war, replied in a flash, "You fool, 
don't you know it was a Hindu." 

I learnt from V. P. Menon a few minutes later that 
the assassin was apparently a Mahratla, who fired three 
limes at point-blank range just as Gandhi was leaving to 
attend his Prayer Meeting. I also spoke with the Doctor, 
who was somewhat dishevelled and who had attended 
Gandhi in his last moments. He complained that there 
had been no medical stores in the house, but admitted 
that they would have done no good. Gandhi had just 
had time to sip a little water before losing consciousness, 
which he never regained. 

There was a considerable discussion about the funeral 
arrangements. It seems that Gandhi has left the most 
explicit instructions through his Secretary, Pyarelal, and 
others that his body is not to be preserved or embalmed. 
On the contrary, in accordance with Hindu practice, it 
is to be cremated as quickly as possible. Gandhi was 
strongly opposed to any special worship of his remains. 

Mountbatten had rather favoured allowing at any rate 
some twenty-four hours for the funeral to be properly 
arranged, but it is clear that it will have to take place 
to-morrow and will impose a very heavy strain on the 
Delhi administration. At Mountbatten's suggestion, 
Nehru agreed that the whole thing should be taken over 
by the Defence Ministry and that all available troops in 
Delhi should be on duty. Mountbatten has put his own 
Body Guard and the Government House Gurkhas at the 
disposal of the Area Commander. 

As the moments went by with people standing or sit- 
ting about in various parts of the house— some, like 
Maulana Azad, in silent contemplation, others, like K. 
M. Munshi, acting as self-appointed organisers and try- 



ing to take charge of things — the crowd outside was stead- 
ily growing in numbers and in its insistence on seeing the 
Mahatma's body. Hundreds of eyes seemed to be peer- 
ing into the house from all sides, and there was some 
anxiety whether the french windows could much longer 
take the strain of the throng pressing against them. 

I warned Nehru of this danger of a mass invasion. He 
looked inexpressibly sad and careworn, but talked quite 
quietly and with amazing self-discipline, saying that all 
was arranged. The body would be taken outside and 
placed on a table to enable the crowds to-night to file 
past and pay their last respects. As the clamour of the 
crowd increased, he himself went out into their midst 
without any form of protection and spoke to them. H. 
V. R. fengar, his secretary, told me that he is really wor- 
ried about the Prime Minister's safety, and Mountbatten 
spoke earnestly with Indira and H. M. Patel, stressing 
the need for taking the utmost precautions. 

We left at about twenty to eight, taking Maulana Azacf 
and Devadas Gandhi back with us. When Devadas re- 
marked that it must have been a madman, Mountbatten 
replied that if that was all to it, he for one would not 
be worrying, but that there were all too many signs of 
its being the outcome of a calculated conspiracy. Mau- 
lana, who does not allow himself to speak in English, 
though he can do so, nodded his head in agreement. 
Mountbatten thought it was a great catastrophe, and only 
hoped and prayed that by Gandhi becoming a martyr it 
would make everyone in India think seriously and, where 
necessary, mend their ways. 

Back in the A.D.C. room I found Kingsley Martin, 
Gordon- Walker, who arrived yesterday, and V. P. Menon. 
V. P. said he was still too stunned to have any reaction,, 
but believed that it could only have a good effect on all 
the best minds of India. While we were speaking, the 
Jam Sahib came in* told us that he had flown specially 
to Delhi to-day in order to meet Gandhiji at 6 p.m. Only 
this morning I myself had been in touch with Pyarelal 



and arranged for Gordon- Walker to see Gandhiji to-mor- 
row evening. 


Saturday, 31st January, 1948 
Throughout the night the crowds filed past the body 
for the last darshan, or showing. His sons had under- 
taken the ceremonial washings. After breakfast the 
Moirntbattens-Lady Mountbatten having flown back in 
the night — and most of his staff repaired to Birla House 
to be present for the departure of the funeral cortege on 
its six-mile journey through New and Old Delhi to the 
Raj Ghat, an immense open space by the banks of the 
Jumna. Military contingents of all three Services were 
moved briskly to take up positions; on the route, and il 
was clear that both the military and civil authorities had 
done splendidly in meeting the almost impossible admini- 
strative demands made upon them. 

Of one anxiety at least they were relieved. When the 
first news of Gandhi's assassination broke there was mo- 
mentary if unexpressed dread that the assassin might have 
been a Moslem, and, if such had been the case, the com- 
munal consequences would indeed have been perilous. 
It was quickly announced that the assassin, Godse, was a 
Mahratta and a member of the Hindu Mahasabha. The 
effect of this news will be to cause deep stirring of the 
Hindu conscience. 

On reaching Birla House we were all jammed into even 
a denser crowd than last night. The cortege consisted of 
a funeral carriage draped with the Congress flag, covered 
wilh flowers and drawn* by a parly of sailors. The Gov- 
ernor-General's Body Guard was there as escort. Mini- 
sters and Generals jostled for position by the funeral cor- 
tege with the humblest citizens, as Gandhi would have 
wished. The four-anna Congressmen, who had been sol- 
diers in his many battles, were there in force. The body 
was brought down from the balcony and placed upon 
the bier. 



Once again I was deeply impressed by the serenity of 
his face. The head was cushioned in flowers. Around 
the body sat Gandhiji's sons and granddaughters, the girls 
still weeping and gently stroking his head. Patel also 
sat immobile beside the body, pale and weary and look- 
ing straight ahead of him. He took no part in the strenu- 
ous efforts which both Nehru and Mountbatten were mak- 
ing to impose some order on the surrounding chaos and 
clear a way for the cortege to start upon its long, slow 

The speeches of both Nehru and Patel last night were 
very moving, and gained in strength from their lack of 
preparation. Apart from the personal loss, the blow 
smites Patel with particular severity. There were first 
of all the reports of differences between himself and 
Gandhi; then, as Home Minister in charge of internal 
security, he was officially responsible for Gandhi's safety. 
It is true that after the bomb incident ten days ago Gandhi 
specifically refused police protection, but there is clear 
evidence that the two attacks are part of one conspiracy, 
and the fact remains that the police were unable to track 
it down before the fatal shot was fired. Indeed, Gandhi's 
last interview had been with Patel, and it was in hurrying 
from this talk a few minutes late for his Prayer Meeting 
that the assassin crossed his path. Palel resolved to un- 
dergo the immense physical ordeal for a man of seventy- 
two of accompanying the body all the way to the burn- 

At last the cortege began almost imperceptibly to move. 
It was now nearly eleven o'clock, and immense crowds had 
gathered all along the route. Indeed, they were far too 
great for cither the police or military to hold in check. 
Their constant pressure kept the pace of the procession 
down to little more than a mile an hour. The slowness 
of the advance encouraged those spectators watching it 
pass by to try to accompany it; which meant that in due 
course the hosts following along behind were almost as 
overwhelming as those ahead. 


On our return to Government House we climbed up 
to the dome of the Durbar Hall and looked down on the 
cortege, now some two miles away from us on the great 
■open "Kingsway". We could detect no visible movement, 
and the crowd seemed to have settled round it like some 
vast swarm. The commentator's voice, over a portable 
radio we had brought up with us, told us that some head- 
way was being made. Whether seeing it from the middle 
distance or hearing of its progress close at hand, the 
strange irony of this scene impressed itself upon me. 

We were watching, I suppose, Gandhiji's first and last 
darshan along this Imperial avenue. Now the man who 
more than anyone else had helped to supersede the Raj 
was receiving in death homage beyond the dreams of 
any Viceroy. Gandhi dies one evening and is taken for 
cremation the following morning. Here is no long-her- 
alded State funeral; all the same, the people have flocked 
within the hour and by the hundred thousand to have 
one last glimpse of him. Who, in the face of this over- 
whelming tribute, can honestly assert now that Gandhi 
had no genuine mass following? 

The Mounlbatlens, their stalT and guests, including 
most of the Governors who have arrived for a conference 
which it was too late to postpone, set out for the Raj 
Ghat. Great care had been taken to avoid the route of 
the funeral procession; but as we approached the banks 
of the Jumna our cars became swallowed up in the multi- 
tude, all pressing towards the cremation ground, and our 
speed was dictated by theirs. 

As the Governor-Gejneral and his party, some twenty 
of us in all, made their way into the great barren arena, 
it was difficult at the first glance to appreciate the full 
immensity of the crowd, for the ground was too flat to 
give a real visual indication of the size. But as we walked 
out in lonely eminence towards the small brick platform 
and the piled logs, wherever we looked our horizon was 
closely packed humanity, and I became oppressed with 
much the same sense of claustrophobia as in Birla House 



last night. Here all thai stood between us and a mass 
invasion of this reserved territory was a cordon of Indian 
Ajr Force men holding the line at intervals of three or 
four yards, who, it seemed, would be no more effective 
than the french windows of Birla House in holding back 
a determined onrush. As a precaution against the danger 
of all our party being pushed on to the flames, Mount- 
batten decided that we and the nearest section of the 
crowd should sit down on the dusty ground. 

As the time passed and the tension mounted, close dis- 
ciples of the Mahatma sat quietly round the funeral pyre, 
threading garlands of small white flowers; otherwise there 
was no sense of ceremonial preparation or sequence. 
There was ghee for kindling the fire, but it was still in 
a large tin which had been opened with a tin-opener; holy 
water was in a zinc bucket. 

When the cortege at last reached the field, bringing 
with it yet another vast multitude, noise and confusion 
burst all bounds and, as we had feared, some seven hun- 
dred thousand people relentlessly converged upon the 
sacred spot. Everyone wished to carry out some last act of 
devotion. Statesmen and sweepers, Governors and pea- 
sant women mingled to throw flower-petals over the body 
before the logs were piled high. The priests read from 
the holy books. With pressure of the people threatening 
to crush us against the pyre, the ceremonial rites took a 
terrifying long time to complete. 

When finally the fire was kindled, a great cry went up 
of "Gandhi is immortal", and the* crowd now took com- 
plete possession. The desperate attempts of some of us 
to make a small inner cordon having duly failed, Mount- 
batten got up and, scanning the crowds as though ap- 
praising a military situation, said quietly, "We mu^t go 
now". Linked together in a human chain, we did our 
best to follow him. His departure did much to save an 
ugly situation, for it started an exodus just where and 
when the pressure was most intense. The crowds quick- 
ly picked him out in his distinctive Naval uniform and 


did their best to make way. As we slowly extricated 
ourselves, the flames and smoke of the pyre billowed 

It would be idle to say that the mood of this vast as- 
sembly was particularly mournful. Jt left much more the 
impression of a demonstration arising from the desire to 
witness a memorable spectacle. Judging by this after- 
noon, grief does not seem to be by any means the sole 
response of Hindus to a funeral, and their belief in im- 
mortality would seem to be rather more robust than ours 
when it conies to the test of ceremonial self-expression. 


Monday, 2nd February, 1948 
Bob Stimson called round to see me this afternoon. By 
his accidental presence at Birla House when the fatal shots 
were fired he was able twenty-five minutes afterwards to 
broadcast in the B.B.C.'s one o'clock news an eye-witness 
report which beat the entire world's Press. There can 
surely be few precedents for such a scoop in the history 
of broadcasting. Undoubtedly this first intimation of the 
event must have done much to enhance its dramatic im- 
pact on the British public. Bob tells me he had no in- 
tention of going there for himself, but had at the last 
minute accompanied Vincent Sheean, who had particular- 
ly wanted to attend a Prayer Meeting. Vincent Sheean, 
on witnessing the tragedy, was so deeply affected that he 
was unable to cable back any immediate account of it to 

Bob tells me that an # American Embassy official was 
the unsung hero of the occasion. He was the first to 
realise what had happened and to leap forward and grip 
the assassin by the arms. There was great discipline 
among the crowd, and no one ran away. Everyone's first 
thought, he said, was for the old man's safety. Bob tells 
me he has seen the assassin, the Mahratta, Vinayak Godse. 
He is by no means uneducated and edits a small provincial 
newspaper. His attitude was completely intransigent. 



"Cut me into little pieces," he said, "and I will still main- 
tain I did right." 

Nehru has spoken with great frankness in the Assemb- 
ly to-day. The Government, he said, must bear respon- 
sibility for not ensuring the safety of Gandhi's life and of 
thousands of other lives. Bob feels that the spirit of 
assassination may well have been encouraged rather than 
exorcised. He is off to see a mass memorial meeting, and 
is wondering whether there will be any further attempts 
on leaders* lives. He described the situation as "Grand 
Guignol in the open air". 

Mountbatten's meetings with the Governors of the new 
India have, of course, been completely overshadowed by 
Gandhi's death, but it has been decided to proceed with 
them, and the Governors have been able to strengthen the 
administration in its resolve to put down communal viol- 
ence. C. R., in his capacity as Governor of Bengal ad- 
vocated immediately the suppression of all political or- 
ganisations with communal objectives, naming in parti- 
cular the Hindu Mahasabha and its militant wing the 


Tuesday, 3rd February, J94S 
The volume of the world reaction to Gandhi's death has 
frankly exceeded my expectation. From every corner of 
the earth have come tributes and appreciations which show 
that his influence has reached out far beyond the bound- 
aries of India. The full meaning of his life may not be 
clear to many, but the importance of its mystery is re- 
cognised. As Kingsley Martin, who has been here with 
us for the whole drama, put it to me, the world is not 
doing so well with the techniques of materialism *and 
power politics. It recognised that Gandhi stood for some- 
thing different, and, in view of his emphasis on spiritual 
values, probably better. He has impinged upon the con- 
science of mankind. 



In the words of the New York Times, "He strove for 
perfection as other men strive for power and possessions 
... the power of his benignity grew stronger as his poli- 
tical influence ebbed. He tried, in the mood of the New 
Testament, to love his enemies, and do good to those who 
despiteful ly used him. Now he belongs to the ages." 

The Christian Science Monitor sees him "as the sup- 
reme individualist of our times". He thus became more 
than a leader of Indian nationalism. He was a world- 
wide symbol. The paper then makes a shrewd point which 
may be at the root of much of the misunderstanding about 
his aims and "dual" personality. "His faith", the article 
continues, "that the individual could move mountains 
through moral suasion lacked the great contribution of 
western thought, a sense of Law. Louis Fischer had said, 
4 to most people politics means government, to Gandhi it 
means men'. But without government man lacks the 
measure of his own ideals, and hence it is that the world 
found in Gandhi a blend of wily shifting politician with 
guileless unshakeable saint. He proved the moral force of 
a single man." 

Attlee has broadcast to the nation. Truman has spoken 
of a great international tragedy and Joss to the whole 
world. Smuts calls him a Prince among men. Jinnah for 
his part describes him as "one of the greatest men pro- 
duced by the Hind.u community and a leader who com- 
manded their universal confidence and respect". 

Yet, unhappily, it is just because the confidence and 
respect of the Hindu community were not universal that 
Gandhi's life has been taken. A tremendous sense of 
shame is evident in all the memorial numbers of the 
Indian papers. Many of their editions have been out- 
standingly well done. I was particularly impressed with 
the Hindustfian Standard, whteh, in addition to carrying 
three full-page portraits of the Mahatma, leaves its leader 
page completely blank save for this one paragraph in bold 
type. "Gandhiji has been killed by his own people for 
whose redemption he lived. This second crucifixion in 



the history of the world has been enacted on a Friday — 
the same day Jesus was done to death one thousand nine 
hundred and fifteen years ago. Father, forgive us." 




Wednesday, 4th February, 1948 
1 had an interesting talk this evening with Nye,* who 
wanted to see me on some publicity problems. He said 
he was very impressed with Patel, who was a real leader 
in the military sense. Once decisions had been taken there 
were no vain regrets and the objective was wholeheartedly 
pursued. He also had that second great gift of leadership, 
the power of delegation. V. P. had been given the job 
of organising the States, Patel was hardly aware of the 
details. In Nye's view this was the sign of a big man. 

He spoke of Communist progress in Madras. They 
were cashing in on local divisions inside the Congress. 
There was a big feud going on between Brahmins and 
non-Brahmins, and the Prime Minister, a non- Brahmin, 
was currently "taking it out" of the Brahmins. The Com- 
munists, too, were exploiting the failure of the monsoon 
by urging the suspension of harvesting operations in order 
to secure new relations between landlord and tenant. The 
Communists contained a great many young men with 
genuine idealism and sense of mission. Their fundamental 
mistake, both here and elsewhere in the world, he feels, 
lies in their contempt for and breaking of the law. If they 
operated more within the framework of legality, fhey 
would indeed be formidable. 

* Sir Archibald Nye, Governor of Madras and after Lord 
Mountbatten's departure LJnited Kingdom High Commissioner in 
New Delhi. 



Thursday, 5th February, 1948 
I have been talking to Norbert Bogdan, Vice-President 
of Schroeders* Banking Group of New York, who is mak- 
ing a detailed survey of financial prospects and economic 
trends both in India and Pakistan. He is an experienced 
traveller and, 1 should say, a shrewd analyst, making his 
first visit to India. For all the tragic convulsions following 
on Independence, he is deeply impressed with the achieve- 
ments and potentialities of the two new States. 

He is just back from Karachi, and had an interview with 
Jinnah yesterday. He found him in a far more accom- 
modating mood than he had been led to expect. Jinnah 
was clearly disturbed about the implications of the Kash- 
mir situation, and spoke of Gandhi in much more gener* 
ous terms than he saw fit to use in his message, acknowl- 
edging to Bogdan how great was the loss for the Moslems. 
Jinnah added that he was reputed to have said that cer- 
tain men in responsible positions in India were plotting 
the economic and political destruction of Pakistan, but 
he was ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. The 
real trouble was with the extremist groups, and he had 
been favourably impressed by the Indian Government's 
firm handling of these following on Gandhi's assassination. 

There is one "extremist" who seems to have found the 
events of the last few days too great for him, and that is 
the Socialist leader, Jai Prakash Narain. The Congress 
is now an elderly Party which has won its principal vic- 
tory, and thus a democratic constitutional Socialist move- 
ment has the chance to» build up a powerful following for 
itself in the next five years. Gandhi's death left the So- 
cialists with only two profitable choices — open opposition 
to the Congress or reconciliation with it and its capture 
from within. Narain gave a Press conference which did 
neither of these things. He urged the need for unity while 
at the same time denouncing Patel, thus rendering rap- 
prochement with Nehru almost impossible. 



Kingsley Martin tells me he had a long talk with him 
yesterday which he found rather disappointing. Although 
he was still emotionally and mentally numbed by Gandhi's 
death, there was — Kingsley said — a certain lack of firm- 
ness in his pursuit of power which is the failing of so 
many social democrats of good-will. He also detected a 
disquieting indifference to the interests of his followers or 
10 the tactical question whether or not his aims should 
be to join the Government. 


Saturday, 14th February, 1948 
Against the background of mourning for the Mahatma 
we celebrate another day of national Independence. This 
time it is in honour of Ceylon's assumption of full Do- 
minion Status. The violence and civil disorders disfigur- 
ing many of the manifestations of rising Asian national- 
ism have been noticeably absent from Ceylon. The whole 
operation has been an accurate reflection of the people's 
sunny and happy-go-lucky temperament. Liberty has 
come smoothly because life, for all its grinding poverty, 
comes easily. To-day the Ceylon flag with its golden lion 
was unfurled on the flagstaff by Mr. de Silva, their Special 
Representative in Delhi, and got stuck on the way up. 
ft would surely have remained permanently at half-mast 
but for the obvious concern of the Diplomatic Corps, 
some of whom were shaping to put the flag on top of 
the mast themselves. This encouraged the cheerful Mr. de 
Silva to make one final and successful tug at the rope. 

Both Mountbatten and Nehru spoke — Nehru in the most 
informal and paternal mood, calling the island by its 
Indian name of Lanka and stressing the deep ties of re- 
ligion, history and culture. After the flag-hoisting a»d 
the speeches there was tea— Ceylon tea. Nehru gave clear 
signs this afternoon that he is beginning to recover from 
the stunning impact of Gandhi's death and the pair of 
national mourning which has lain heavily upon him. He 
came up to us, and after we had made some remark about 



the excellent quality of the tea we were drinking, he waxed 
eloquent on the aesthetics of tea-making, commending the 
artistry of the Chinese, who, he said, were reputed to in- 
fuse their tea with dew collected at dawn. from the lotus 

The subject of tea recalls a revealing comment made 
to us by Oleg Orcslov the other day. He represents the 
Tass Agency here, and is due to return shortly to the 
Soviet Union. He has for same time been the Honorary 
Secretary of the Foreign Correspondents' Association, 
continuing to live with his family in the poorer part of 
Old Delhi throughout the troubles. During lunch with us 
he discussed the transfer of power quite frankly. In an 
appreciation of the persistent strength of British influence 
he cited in all seriousness and some dismay the Indian 
attitude to his tea-drinking habits. "How do you like 
your tea?" they would ask. "By itself," he would reply, 
at which the Indian would invariably exclaim, "But that is 
not the correct way to drink it. The British drink it with 
milk and sugar." Nearly all influential Indians with the at- 
tainment of Independence show themselves in his view to 
be quite unconsciously the exponents of the British way of 
life. This, he implied, was the ultimate victory of the im- 
perial system — to ensure the continuity of your own 
thought-processes and behaviour-patterns among an alien 
people to whom you have voluntarily liquidated formal 

Narain, among others, has had his answer. Nehru, 
broadcasting to-night over All India Radio, declares him- 
self distressed bey end measure by whisperings about 
differences between Patel and himself. "Of course," he 
said, "there have been for many years past differences 
between us, temperamental and other, in regard to many 
problems, but India at least should know that these differ- 
ences have been overshadowed by the fundamental agree- 
ments about the most important aspects of our public 
life, and that we have co-operated together for a quarter 
of a century or more in great undertakings. Is it likely 



that at this crisis in our national destiny either of us should 
be petty minded and think of anything but the national 


So an end is. put to speculation, and the lie direct is 
given to those who had doubted whether the two big men 
of the Government were big enough to hold together. On 
their solidarity at this time the future of the entire regime 


Tuesday, 17 th lebruary, 1948 
At our Staff Meeting to-day Mountbatten reviewed the 
disquieting Kashmir situation. The reference of the dis- 
pute to the United Nations has at least offset the immedi- 
ate risk of war, but a new danger is creeping up, the 
reality of which it is easier for us here in Delhi than for 
the Government in London or the delegates at Lake Suc- 
cess to discern. Various suspicions are seeping into the 
minds of the Indian Government and the politically con- 
scious public which, taken together, could well develop 
into a major frontal attack on fndo-British good-will. 

Tn the first place, there is bewilderment at the delay 
of the United Nations in accepting India's basic complaint 
that an act of aggression has taken place in Kashmir. This 
is regarded here as no mere formality, but as a basic 
point of grievance involving a threat to peace which the 
United Nations was especially created to redress. Hence 
grows the suspicion that the United Nations is being made 
the forum for the promotion of international power poli- 
tics. As evidence of this the published attitude of the 
American and British delegates. Warren Austin and Noel- 
Baker, are cited. Both are wildly accused of being un- 
ashamedly pro- Pakistan for a variety of unedifying reasons. 

As a natural reaction from this disillusionment, which 
is genuinely and nationally felt, the belief is also spread- 
ing that India has most to hope, whether in terms of 
mediation or even of the veto, from Soviet Russia and her 
satellites. Some of this trouble has sprung from the failure 


of the Indian delegation to make its mark. A week ago 
Nehru ordered its recall for consultation and, it is to be 
hoped, reconstitution. 

On the Public Relations side India fared even worse 
than 1 had feared she would. Even the Indian Press was 
obliged to print large indigestible chunks of Ayyengar's 
speeches three or four days after they had been delivered. 
The personality of Sheikh Abdullah and the procedure 
of Lake Success could not be reconciled, and the Indian 
case suffered accordingly. Moreover, the Pakistan dele- 
gate was their Foreign Minister, Zaffrullah Khan, an ex- 
perienced and popular practitioner in United Nations dial- 
ectic, who was as suave ami smooth as the Indian delegates 
were awkward and aneular. 

Mountbattcn is worried because he feels that Attlee and 
Noel-Baker do not seem to be showing themselves suffi- 
ciently alive to the psychological influences of this dispute 
and that their attempt to deal out even-handed justice is 
producing heavy-handed diplomacy. The crux of the pro- 
blem as seen in London is India's unwillingness to re- 
cognise that a plebiscite carried out under the auspices 
of Abdullah and with the sole support of Indian troops, 
even with Security Council backing, would not be regard- 
ed as fulfilling the condition of its fair conduct. In Mount- 
batten's opinion the United Kingdom delegate could with 
advantage take a^ less unfriendly line towards India by 
supporting the view that the first step should be for Paki- 
stan to stop helping the raiders. The question of super- 
intending the plebiscite without interfering with the legally 
constituted Government* deserved, he felt, more sympa- 
thetic discussion and treatment than it has yet received. 

In an appraisal of Attlee this morning, Mountbatten 
stressed first his absolute intellectual honesty — perhaps his 
greatest source of strength — secondly his status as a 
liberator and finally his profound personal affection for 
and interest in India. These were assets which must not 
be squandered. Mountbatten finds his present constitu- 
tional position of friendly adviser irksome at times. He 



can no longer step in between London and Delhi, and 
his only link now is with the King, who strictly separates 
his various sovereignties. 


Sunday, 22nd February, J 948 
Walter Monckton has just arrived here following a 
week's stay in Hyderabad. We were aware that he was 
due to see the Nizam during the middle of February, and 
Mountbatten had accordingly written off to His Exalted 
Highness urging that he should seize the opportunity of 
Monckton's visit to come to a eeneral settlement with 

Rather to Mountbatten's surprise, the Nizam at once 
agreed with him. I say surprise, because some of the 
Nizam's privately expressed opinions of Mountbatten re- 
cently have been far from flattering. We are aware that 
he has been describing him as no friend of Hyderabad, 
as anyhow without power, and has been asserting that it 
was immaterial whether Mountbatten helped in future ne- 
gotiations or not. But now he replies expressing the hope 
That Mountbatten, "as a member of the Royal Family 
of England, will give your invaluable help and support 
to Hyderabad in the long term agreement which may be 
in keeping with the high position Hyderabad occupies in 
the eyes of the world". It is interesting to note that he 
always invokes Mountbatten's Royal connection, as if it 
endowed him with some special virtue and status in ne- 
gotiating with Hyderabad. 

For a month after the signing of the Standstill Agree- 
ment there was almost complete quiet, but shortly after 
the New Year there was an incident to show that the calm 
was deceptive. A trivial but non-the-less significant dis- 
pute arose over the allotment of accommodation* in 
Hyderabad for K. M. Munshi, India's newly appointed 
Agent-General. The house already earmarked for him 
was not ready. So it was suggested that he should go into 
one of the vacant Residencies for the intervening eleven 



days. The Nizam at once protested against the proposal, 
seeing in it a sinister plot to revive Paramountcy. The 
Indian reply was simply that if Munshi was not to be 
allowed proper and adequate accommodation, neither he 
nor any other Agent-General would be sent at all. At 
this stage Mountbatten's good offices were invoked, and 
as a result of a brisk exchange of letters and telegrams 
the Nizam was induced to give way, and Munshi duly 
left on the 5th January to take up his post. 

By the end of the month relations between Hyderabad 
and India had declined to the point where it could be said 
that the whole Standstill Agreement was liable to be de- 
nounced by both sides. There was a dangerous increase 
in the number of border incidents. The policy of pin-pricks 
was leading inevitably to wider irritation. The Hyderabad 
Government began by imposing some restrictions on the 
export of metals, and followed this up by withdrawing 
recognition of Indian Dominion currency in all normal 
transactions within the State. 

More provocative than either of these moves, a loan of 
twenty crores of rupees (over fifteen million pounds) was 
understood to have been made available by Hyderabad 
to Pakistan. The circumstances of .this deal were obscure 
and disquieting. Mount batten has been very carefully 
into the matter, and from the evidence at his disposal 
it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it was arranged 
by Moin Nawaz Jung, the present Minister for External 
Affairs and Finance, while he was actually a member of 
the delegation negotiating the Standstill Agreement. This 
provocative move was made, moreover, just when the 
Indian Government was considering withholding the fifty- 
five crores of assets from Pakistan. On the Hyderabad 
side come detailed complaints of economic blockade. 

On the day of Gandhi's, cremation Mountbatten had his 
first meeting with the new Ittehad -sponsored Prime Minis- 
ter of Hyderabad, Mir Laik Ali, and advised him frankly 
that his Government should mend their ways and general- 
ly try to work in a spirit of friendship with India. Mount- 



batten doubts however, whether he made any deep im- 
pression. Behind a suave outward manner he detected in 
Mir Laik AH's outlook that blend of fanaticism and cun- 
ning which we have been reduced to regarding as the 
dominant characteristics of the Ittehad and its leaders. 
Much now depends on the ability of Monckton to per- 
suade the Nizam and his Government to adopt more con- 
structive policies, and on Mountbatten to prevent Patel 
and the Indian Government losing their patience before 
the resources of negotiation have been fully worked out. 


Monday, 23rd February, 1948 
Walter Monckton and V. P. were both guests at one 
of Mountbatten's informal Staff Meetings this morning. 
We burst the bounds of our agenda and indulged in re- 
miniscence about Kashmir's accession and speculation 
about Commonwealth citizenship. On Kashmir, Monck- 
ton said that frankly the issues were not understood out- 
side the sub-continent. V. P. Stressed that Nishtar's* agree- 
ment to the accession policy on behalf of the future Paki- 
stan Government was in fact secured before the transfer 
of power, and that Pakistan Ministers had subsequently 
admitted that the Junagadh accession was essentially a 
violation of the agreement. When Kakt came to Delhi 
in July he saw Patel, who told him that he did nor want 
the accession of Kashmir against the people's will. Through 
Mountbatten's good offices he also saw Jinnah at this 

Discussing problems of Commonwealth status, Monck- 
ton drew attention to the importance of the Nationality 
Bill in Britain, which was, it seems, in some measure the 

* Sardar Rab Nishtar, Pakistan Cabinet Minister, whose port- 
folios included the Pakistan Ministry of States. He was a 
Moslem League representative along with Mr. Jinnah and Mr. 
Liaquat A.U Khan at the decisive meetings with Lord Mount- 
batten on the 2nd and 3rd June, 1947. 

t Pandit Kak, the last Prime Minister under the old order in 
Kashmir, who had been responsible for the arrest of Nehru on 
his visit to Kashmir in 1946. 


outcome of a letter he had written to Cripps. He explain- 
ed that the position now is that one can be a subject of 
the King without owing allegiance in the citizenship sense. 
On the general issue of India and the Commonwealth, 
Mountbatten is preparing an aide-memoire which he wants 
to have ready in lime for Gordon-Walker to see and to 
study. After his stay at Government House at the end 
of January, Gordon- Walker went down to Ceylon. He 
is now back in Delhi at a crucial moment in the Kashmir 
dispute. With a stalemate on the fighting front and a 
hiatus at Lake Success, the physical opportunity arises 
for renewing informal and indirect diplomacy. 

My memory of Gordon-Walker goes back to my under- 
graduate days at Christ Church, when as a young History 
don there he guided me through the intricacies of seven- 
teenth-century Europe. He seems to me to have all the 
qualifications for high office, the lucidity of the scholar's 
mind, a strong but attractive personality and administra- 
tive grip. He is one of the younger Labour intellectuals 
treading the Attleean way of Fabian moderation. 

He sees the central issue between the two Dominions 
in the Kashmir dispute as being now the withdrawal of 
troops, and he feels it is easier to envisage the possibility 
of compromise both on the plebiscite and the Interim 
Government. He has, 1 think, been able to see for him- 
self that Mountbatten is not exaggerating the bad impres- 
sion caused here by the British attitude at the United 

In the course of a long talk with Sir Girja Shankar 
Bajpai, Nehru's accomplished Secretary for External 
Affairs, he has, I understand, stressed quite firmly that 
friendship with Russia is obtainable only at the price of 
subservience, and that Russia in any case has no basic 
interest in India. I also hear, incidentally, that Bajpai 
has taken up the question of Korea with the American 
Ambassador, Grady. With the demarcation of Soviet and 
American influence along the 38th Parallel, the situation 
between North and South Korea is very similar to that 



between East and West Germany. Bajpai's argument is, 
if United States troops are not leaving Korea, why should 
Indian troops be called upon to leave Kashmir? 

At this morning's meeting I urged that Gordon -Walker 
should be pressed to stay on until 29th February, the date 
of a possible visit from Liaqual. I feel strongly that a 
British Minister's presence during the next discussions be- 
tween Liaquat and Nehru would serve as an inducement 
to moderation and compromise. No effective mediating 
influence has been available in the right place at the right 

Mountbatlen called for a post-mortem from me on the 
failure of the Indian case to establish itself with world 
opinion at the United Nations. I replied that quite apart 
from its actual merits it had been abominably presented, 
and that nearly every canon of Public Relations procedure 
had either been violated or neglected. Moreover, I felt 
that not enough attention had been paid to answering 
Pakistan's case against India, in particular the allegations 
of Congress "conspiracy" to secure the Maharaja's sub- 
mission through Abdullah; just to ignore such charges was 
not w ; sc. 


Wednesday, 25th February, . 1948 
Mountbatten's aide-memoire on India and the Com- 
monwealth, which sets out to make "certain tentative sug- 
gestions as to how the structure of the Commonwealth 
could perhaps be altered, particularly in nomenclature, to 
allow Asian countries to remain more easily associated 
with it," is now ready for Gordon-Walker. Although 
there has been a lot of staff discussion and thinking on 
the subject, it is very much Mountbatten's own document, 
characteristically bold, direct and original. It is also well- 
timed, for the Government of India is due to release the 
draft of the new Indian Constitution to the Press to- 
morrow. After circulation of the draft to Members of 
the Constituent Assembly, whose comments arc required 



within a month, a revised draft will then be formally sub- 
milted to the Constituent Assembly for final approval. 

Mountbatten says frankly that although individual 
Indian leaders arc alive to the advantages of the continued 
Commonwealth connection, their political position has 
been weakened and the attitude of the Government ad- 
versely affected by the policy adopted towards Kashmir 
by the British delegation at the Security Council. This 
he puts forward as a political fact, and not as something 
over which he is trying to moralise. He said he would like 
to see the word "Republic" expunged from the Indian 
Constitution in favour of Commonwealth, but without pro- 
mising to be successful in achieving this amendment, he 
adds," 44 ! think there can be no doubt that there is room 
for a Republic within the Commonwealth." 

He points out that the word Dominion is not in any case 
an easy one for India to swallow, after the Congress re- 
solution in favour of a Republic. It still has a debased 
meaning here, whether of domination or of status short 
of full freedom. He also urges that the term "Common- 
wealth citizen" should be considered as a desirable alter- 
native to British subject, although both terms could be 
used on occasion with advantage. His final point of sub- 
stance is that in any arrangement made about the future 
structure of the Commonwealth it would be best if pos- 
sible to leave the question of the formal link with the 
Crown unstated. 


Thursday, 26th February, 1948 
Vernon has asked me to comment on a draft memoran- 
dum he is preparing giving a brief survey of the Accession 
policy to date with particular reference to Junagadh and 
Kashmir. After covering some points of detail, 1 have 
made the following brief distinction between these two 
events. "Quite apart from the test of majority popula- 
tions, the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan was in vio- 
lation of the principle of geographical compulsion to which 


ibe Pakistan leaders had themselves subscribed. The 
accession of Kashmir was not. Moreover, from the stra- 
tegic and economic points, of view, while Pakistan had 
no interest in Junagadh, India had considerable interest 
in Kashmir. There were two further special factors in- 
volved in the case of Kashmir but absent from that of 
Junagadh — the use of force by tribal invasion to over- 
throw the Maharaja's regime before accession, and the 
presence (also before accession) of an important inter- 
communal political organisation in the Slate. 

"Taking into account all these 'other factors', the ac- 
cession of Junagadh to Pakistan was wholly frivolous, 
while that of Kashmir to India was definitely arguable. 
It was just because of all the special circumstances attach- 
ing to both accessions that the Government of India ac- 
cepted the principle of a confirming plebiscite for the 
action taken in both Slates. Finally, it should be noted 
that when India challenged the validity of the Junagadh 
accession, Pakistan asserted the doctrine of the Ruler's 
absolute and sacrosanct right to accede, but promptly 
challenged that right in the case of Kashmir." 

(jovfrnmknt nousr:, nkw delhi, 
Thursday, 4th March, 1948 

The new Hyderabad delegation, consisting of Mir Laik 
Ali, Moin Nawaz Jung (Mir Laik Ali's ambitious and 
powerful brother-in-law) and Monckton, are in Delhi and 
have had two meetings with Mountbattcn, one on Tues- 
day and the other to-day, at both of which V. P. was also 
present. Yesterday Mir Laik Ali visited Karachi, and at 
Mountbatten's suggestion asked Liaqual to undertake not 
to cash the twenty crore loan made by Hyderabad to 
Pakistan during the period of the Standstill Agreement. 
He returned with this undertaking given to him verbally. 

There has been a lengthy recitation of grievance on 
both sides, V. P. quoting the loan to Pakistan and the 
ordinance making Indian currency illegal, and Mir Laik 
Ali claiming the operation of a full-scale economic block- 


ade against Hyderabad. Mountbatlen pointed out that 
all communal armies had recently been abolished in India 
and that Hyderabad should by the same token disband 
the Razakars, the militant offshoot of the Tttehad of whose 
depredations increasingly grave reports were being receiv- 
ed. He also urged upon the delegation the desirability of 
the early introduction of responsible government in 

We have here the customary deadlock of timing and 
procedure concealing the conflict for the ultimate power. 
Patel feels that it is useless to negotiate for a long-term 
settlement until the Standstill Agreement is working pro- 
perly, and that the Standstill Agreement cannot be ex- 
pected to work without some measure of responsible gov- 
ernment. As a first step towards this, however, Patel 
was not ready to back the suggestion that an Interim Gov- 
ernment should be set up consisting of an equal number 
of Hindus and Moslems. Mir Laik Ali for his part does 
not think that he would be able to get beyond parity and 
admit a Hindu majority Government until a long-term 
agreement is reached, although he concedes that it might 
be possible for the two steps to be taken simultaneously. 

After the meeting a storm blew up over the issue of a 
communique, and Patel refused to agree to the inclusion 
of any suggestion that India had committed a breach of 
the Standstill Agreement. Here he is on firm ground as 
far as the Central Government is concerned. The trouble 
is at the provincial levels with local officials. In present 
conditions of administrative strain and inexperience it is 
easier to give instructions than to ensure that they will be 
carried out. Patel, however (perhaps from fear of im- 
plying the wider admission), was not even prepared to 
state in a communique that the goods due to Hyderabad, 
which it was claimed were held up, should be released. 
Monckton is extremely upset, and Mountbatten on his 
return from a dinner-party has spoken to him over the 
telephone promising to follow the matter up personally 




Friday, 5th March, 1948 
Monckton left for Hyderabad early this morning and 
Mountbatten pursued his inquiries about the communique 
in his absence. He talked with Nehru, who was very 
reasonable and sympathetic, but anxious that the question 
should be settled with Patel as the Minister responsible 
for handling the Hyderabad question. Mountbatten was 
due to see him this afternoon, but during lunch Patel had 
a heart attack and nearly died. He is completely laid up, 
and has been forbidden by his doctor to do any work 
whatever for an unspecified period, which may well cover 
the remainder of our term he r e. 

f think he overtaxed his strength at the time of Gandhi's 
death by his determination to ride on the funeral carriage 
throughout the six-hour journey. When I saw him at the 
Raj Ghat he looked drawn and ill and seemed as if in a 
trance. The whole tragedy has hit him heavily, and he 
has undoubtedly carried more than his fair share of the 
burden of criticism as Home Minister for the failure to 
see that Gandhi was properly protected. His illness now 
is a serious blow for the Government at a critical time 
in its affairs at home and abroad, and it serves to under- 
line how dependent the regime is upon its two key men. 

In the immediate context of Hyderabad and the com- 
munique there is no one to be found who will assume 
responsibility for reversing his last decision. So Mount- 
batten has had to write oil to Monckton that no Press 
statement should be issued for the present. 


Saturday, 6th March, 1948 
Mountbatten has seen K. M. Munshi, India's Agent- 
General in Hyderabad, who is active, purposeful and, I 
would guess, ambitious. He is moving up in the Congress 
hierarchy, although lacking the particular Congress badge 
of honour, prison service in resistance to the Raj. This 



not unnaturally only enhances the vigour of his national- 
ism to-day. 

In his memorial broadcast on the Mahatma he present- 
ed himself as the student of ahimsa, or non-violence, who 
was ready to grapple with Gandhi on the failure of civil 
disobedience in 1942 because "it did not stand the scrip- 
tural test of ahimsa; as it evoked wrath in the enemy and 
not love". From what he had to say to Mountbatten to- 
day, it is clear that he is not placing excessive reliance on 
ahimsa for dealing with Hyderabad. If the activities of 
the Razakars are not quickly restrained he advocates send- 
ing in the Indian police to do so, which, by his own legal 
interpretation, he considers would come within the terms 
of the Standstill Agreement. He is already convinced that 
the Razakars cannot and will not be restrained by the 
present regime. 

Mountbatten spoke firmly of India's need to adopt ethi- 
cal and correct behaviour towards Hyderabad and to act 
in such a way as could be defended before the bar of 
world opinion. Jn the present state of negotiations 
Munshi's proposal for police action was absolutely wrong. 
Mir Laik Ali must be given a fair chance to deal with 
the Razakars, to implement the Standstill Agreement and 
introduce a measure of responsible government. 

Mountbatten told me afterwards that while he has no 
doubt about Munshi's drive and ability, he is far from 
happy whether his temperament or political outlook fit 
him for this particularly delicate stage in the handling of 
the Ni/am, which calls for unusual diplomatic patience 
and non-communal objectivity. 

Monckton has now left Hyderabad for London, and 
we are afraid may well be ready to throw in his hand 
from the belief that further negotiations on the pattern 
of this week's performance arc a waste of his time, and 
without Monckton the margin of Mountbatten's diploma- 
tic initiative wili be further narrowed down. 




Monday, 8tli March, 1948 
Wi ARr oi l on the grand tour, nine days in all, to Cal- 
cutta, Orissa, Rangoon and Assam. The Mountbattens' 
schedule is fearsome even by their high-powered stand- 
ards, and is set out in four slim booklets produced in 
four different colours by the Military Secretary's inde- 
fatigable staff. Travelling as light as possible, the party, 
including servants, still comprises over fifty persons, and 
is no small exercise in ceremonial logistics. 1 shall be 
staying on in Calcutta during the visits to Assam and 
Orissa, which will enable me to meet the Calcutta editors. 
We left Pa lam at 8.45 a.m., reaching Dum Dum airfield 
at one o'clock, where the venerable C. R., as Governor 
of West Bengal, had come to meet us. 

After the speeches were over and most of the guests had 
left, C. R. came to my table and spoke about nearly, every- 
thing with the devastating frankness of the really wise man. 
He said he was deeply worried about Kashmir. The 
country's resources were being squandered. Jt was like 
trying to mend a broken lea -cup at this party and for- 
getting all about the guests. He feared that Mountbalten 
might not be giving enough unpalatable advice. "Pan- 
dit ji'\ he said, "is capable of hearing profoundly unpleas- 
ant things," I replied that Mountbatten, with only an 
advisory role left to him, did not want to reach the stage 
where he could only irritate but not influence. 


M.M.— 12 




Tuesday, 9th March, 1948 
The Mountbattens, after a full morning programme — 
Lady Mountbatten's first engagement being at 7.30 a.m. 
— lunched with the Bengal Press Advisory Committee at 
the Calcutta Club. The President of the Committee, 
Tushar Kanli Ghosh, who is also editor of the well-known 
Calcutta daily, Amrita Bazar Patrika, gave a short but 
highly polished chairman's introduction which was well 
above the average in expression and content for such (x*- 
casions. Mountbatten took trouble over his reply, which 
he delivered with hardly a glance at his notes. It was an 
opportunity well taken to establish cordial relations with 
a very powerful section of the Indian Press, upon whom 
much depends for the creation of communal confidence 
in the oartition of Bencal. 

In addition to providing such important pro-Congress 
papers as the Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta is the main 
headquarters of The Statesman. Ian Stephens has 
invited me to lunch with the editorial staff and to go over 
the office. As Mountbatten pointed out in his speech, it 
was from The Statesman's office that, with Stephens' gene- 
rous cooperation, two newspapers were simultaneously 
produced- The Statesman itself, and "SEAC" under 
Frank Owen's dynamic editorship, which for nearly three 
years was one of Mountbatten's major morale-raising con- 
tributions to the Burma campaign, and post-war activities. 

During the brief intervals between engagements, I have, 
among other* things, been discussing with Mountbatten a 
further outburst by Nehru on the Foreign Press. It is 
disquieting, and may well jeopardise the goodwill agree- 
ment achieved under Mountbatten's chairmanship in 

Mountbatten tells me he had a most illuminating talk 
to-day with C R„ who had given his candid opinion that 
if Mountbatten had not transferred power when he did 



there might well have been no power to transfer. It 
might, in fact, have been impossible to produce any Plan 
at all, and then the British would have been left with the 
whole burden and odium, whether they stayed on or 
moved out. 

Rangoon -Calcutta, Saturday, 7 3th March. 1948 
\ just managed to get to the United Services Club in 
time for the annual dinner of the Mining, Geological and 
Metallurgical Institute of India, and sat on a very hard 
chair through very lengthy proceedings. There was one 
memorable moment, however, provided by an impromptu 
tribute to Mountbatten from C. R. As there was ap- 
parently no Press representative present to catch his words, 
I hurriedly noted them down on the back of my menu 
card . 

He began by saying that he did not wish to emphasise 
Mountbalten\s services to India, to which ample testi- 
mony had already been given, but to stress rather his 
services to Britain. Churchill might feel that what Has- 
tings and Clive had won, Mountbatten had thrown away. 
But that was true only in a superficial sense. The deeper 
realitv was that for the all-round suspicion, bitterness and 
ill-will that prevailed during the war years, Mountbatten 
had succeeded in substituting unqualified good-will be- 
tween Tndia and Britain. "Has not Lord Mountbatten 
then done greater service to Britain than Hastings and 
Clive? For this is the greatest service of all. In times 
to come it will not be Empires that count. It is good- 
will *hat counts. Therefore 1 say that he has done more 
for Britain than anyone else." 

The example of brevity set by Mountbatten, who spoke 
for little more than three minutes, and by C. R. himself, 
was not, unfortunately, followed by all the other speakers. 
The West Bengal Minister of Commerce rattled through 
a tightly packed bundle of notes for nearly three-quarters 
of an hour. There seemed no reason why he should ever 
end, until suddenly, almost in the middle of a sentence, 
he made a dramatic pause and announced, "I have good 



news for you, T have finished" — at once sitting down, to 
the warmest applause of the evening! 


Sunday, 14th March, 1948 
I am deeply impressed by C. R. He has immense 
moral authority, which is exerted without any outward 
gesture. There is no raising of the voice or haughtiness 
of manner. He has the true strength of the humble in 
heart. He is, I suppose, one of the oldest of Gandhi's 
campaigning disciples, and there is also a family link, for 
Gandhi's son Devadas is married to a daughter of C. R. 
Only a man of C. R.'s powerful character and deep con- 
viction could have dared to resist Gandhi's will in 1942 
by advocating the acceptance of the Cripps Plan, and even 
promoting his own partition formula at that moment of 
inflated expectation. He retired, of course, into the wild- 
erness, yet never wholly lost his influence. 

It was Gandhi who performed the "miracle" of Cal- 
cutta last September, but it is C. R. who, as Governor, 
has consolidated the communal good-will which Gandhi 
engendered. The minorities here have looked on him 
for fairness and friendship, and he has not failed them. 
To place a Madrassi Liberal to preside over Bengal's 
fanatical and factious politics was, a calculated risk. His 
popularity to-day is good to see, and the communal quiet 
in this seething, over-populated, hunger-ridden and revo- 
lutionary city is in no small measure a reflection of his 
benign authority. 

[ went in to see*him this morning, and said that as 
far as I could tell I alone had taken any record of his 
tribute to Mountbattcn at last night's dinner. I told him 
I would like to release the text of what he had said to the 
Press. He agreed, adding in characteristic fashion that 
he hoped particularly that I would send the account to 
London, where he liked to think it would do Mountbatten 
good as coming from an Indian. 




Tuesday, 16th March, 1948 
I re-joined the Mountbattens' party at Dum Dum, 
where the switch was made from Governor-General's Da- 
kota to Governor-General's York for the return flight to 
Delhi. The Assam visit was, it seems, a great success, 
with rather more "organised leisure" than in Orissa or 
Rangoon. Turner and Desfor have come back enthu- 
siastic about the tribal dancing, which they found to be 
highly photogenic. 

•For myself the past two days in Calcutta have been 
wholly delightful. Before I left, C. R. presented me with 
signed copies of his translations for the lay reader of the 
great Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita and Upani- 
shads, writing on the fly-leaf of the latter, "In spite of 
our obvious failings, I suppose our minds and morals 
bear some impress of the holy books held in reverence in 
India for some few millennia. No one can understand 
the people of India unless one goes through these scrip- 
tures sympathetically." All that I have seen of him on 
this visit only goes to confirm my belief that he would 
be the ideal, even if somewhat unwilling, successor to 
Mountbatten as India's first Indian Governor-General. 

In this connection Patel for some while now has been 
urging Mountbatten with remarkable vehemence and in- 
sistence to extend his term beyond April in the interests 
of the people of India, and would like him to stay for the 
regulation five years. Mountbatten has regretfully refus- 
ed to consider this; but when Nehru at the beginning of 
this month asked him, on behalf of his Government, to 
stay on for at least another year or even a few more 
months he finally decided to make the gesture of extending 
his time from April to June 1948, this having been .the 
date announced in London for his departure when the 
original schedule for the transfer of power were set and 




Friday, 19th March, 1948 
Onct: morf wt are back in harness in Delhi. To-day 
there has been the first meeting between Liaquat and 
Nehru for two months. Mountbatten has had some diffi- 
culty in bringing them together under the a;gis of the Joint 
Defence Council. They have decided that this should 
be its last formal session. It was in any case due to 
close clown on the 1st April, but Mountbatten had in 
mind to continue it in its existing form (under his chair- 
manship until he left, and then successively under the 
Prime Minister of the Dominion in which it met) for a 
further year, with a view to the widening of its function 
in due course to cover financial and economic questions, 
communications and external affairs. Although this con- 
cept did not commend itself to either side, the two Prime 
Ministers recognised the value of the Joint Defence Coun- 
cil as a pretext and cover for regular personal contact, 
and Mountbatten had no difficulty in getting them to agree 
that they should continue to meet at approximately month- 
ly intervals to discuss matters of common interest and 

Not the least remarkable feature of the past six months 
of bitterness and frustration has been the life-line of sanity 
thrown out and grasped by both Nehru and Liaquat. One 
always feels that if matters could be left to these two, 
and the pressures and stresses to which they arc both sub- 
jected removed, a firm settlement of all outstanding dif- 
ferences; would soon be signed, sealed and delivered. 




During this particular discussion, while there was amic- 
able agreement on a number of secondary problems, no 
mention whatever was made of Kashmir. This was not 
for lack of background developments. The Chinese dele- 
gate, Dr. Tsiang — the present chairman of the Security 
Council — has on his own initiative put forward proposals 
which are at last basically satisfactory to India. But un- 
fortunately Dr. Tsiang has not waited to gain wider spon- 
sorship in the Security Council for his plan. With the re- 
sult that it is far more likely to provoke bitterness and 
narrow the already slender margin of negotiation and 
good-will. Something is seriously wrong with the proce- 
dures of Lake Success. Oh, for a return to some "sini- 
ster secret diplomacy" to counteract the effect of these 
"public disagreements publicly arrived at"! 

The new Indian delegation has, J am glad to say, been 
reinforced by B. L. Sharma, who is to cover the sadly 
neglected Public Relations side of their efforts. He was 
only asked at the last minute, and hardly had time to 
pack his bag. I managed, however, to send him a num- 
ber of personal introductions, and am confident that he 
will do well. Sheikh Abdullah has not rejoined the party. 
His particular brand of self-assertive oratory bludgeoned 
the United Nations delegates and the American public 
without persuading them. He generated more heal than 

Perhaps the most disquieting, though far from unex- 
pected development in the propaganda campaign over 
Kashmir at the United Nations, has been the attempt by 
Zaffrullah Khan to offset India's complaint by widening 
the area of grievance on Pakistan's behalf and in the 
process to indulge in what the Americans call "character 
assassination". He has now introduced Mountbatten *s 
name at a moment when it is impossible on constitutional 
grounds for Mountbatten himself to make a public reply. 

We have had full staff discussions of the problem, and 
Mountbatten has wisely decided to ensure that his answer 
to the allegations, together with the relevant facts, should 



be placed on the records of the Joint Defence Council be- 
fore it is disbanded, so that it should be brought to the 
notice of both the Pakistan and Indian Governments, and 
that the British Government should be fully briefed, in 
so far as the attacks on himself as Viceroy would almost 
certainly implicate them as well. 

Zafirullah's two main charges were that, as Viceroy, 
Mountbatten knew of a Sikh plan from the beginning 
of July, and that knowing it, he failed to take effective 
action in the form of arresting the leaders and crushing 
the trouble makers despite previous assurances that he 

Mountbatlen's memorandum makes it clear that while 
no one in the higher spheres of Government was under 
any misapprehension about the scale of the Sikh problem 
and the urgency of solving it, neither he nor anyone else 
was aware of any specific Sikh master plan. There was, 
indeed, no hint of such a plan prior to the meeting with 
the British Intelligence officer on the 5th August, nor did 
the meeting itself provide conclusive proof of the plan's 
scale or "operational" significance.* Mountbatten takes 
his stand on a letter of admirable lucidity, dated 9lh 
August from Jenkins, which forwarded the unanimous 
view of all three Punjab Governors— Jenkins himself and 
the two successor Governors-designate- that nothing more 
should be done before actual transfer of power than to 
make plans for the Sikh leader's arresL which could be 
implemented quickly on either side of the boundary as 

It is interesting to note from this souicc that Mudie, 
the Governor-elect of the West Punjab and as such the 
principal spokesman for Pakistan's interest, urged that un- 
less the West Punjab could be quite certain of the ulti- 
mate attitude of the East Punjab on the matter, the con- 

* See p. 178 for icferencc to Mountbatten's acceptance of 
Ihe risk of driving in state with Jinnah on 14th August, follow- 
ing the threat of an attempt on Jinnah s life during this Stale 



finement of the Sikh leaders not on criminal charges, but 
under Jenkins' emergency powers, might be most embar- 
rassing. It was not clear, Mudie added, where the leaders 
could be confined, without causing trouble — Jenkins could 
hardly send them to what would in a few days be a part 
of Pakistan; on the other hand, if they were left in the 
East Punjab they would be a centre of agitation. 

A further Pakistani charge has been brought into the 
open with the allegation that the Boundary Commission 
award was changed to the disadvantage of Pakistan as a 
result of improper pressure from Viceroy's House just 
before publication. Here the evidence was a letter dated 
8th August sent by Abell to Jenkins slating that the inten- 
tion was for (he Boundary Commission Award to be pre- 
sented on the 11th, and containing an outline of the en- 
visaged Award which showed the tehsils (sub-districts) 
of Ferozepore and Zira as going to Pakistan. 

Abell was, in fact, shown a strictly provisional forecast 
by RadclihVs secretary, which he sent to Jenkins, who 
sometime before had asked that if any sort of advance 
information could be given him, it should be provided 
so as to enable him to dispose police and troops to the 
best advantage. This forecast proved^ ultimately to be 
wrong to the extent of two tehsils and two days. There 
is, in fact, no more nor less to it than that. 

The whole baseless proposition is, of course, rendered 
plausible by presenting the bald evidence of A bell's letter, 
but if there was any reason for Jenkins to have been se- 
cretive about its contents at the time, would he have been 
so crazy as to leave it for his successor at Lahore? Or, 
indeed, if Mudie had thought that his British colleagues 
had been playing a dishonourable game, is it conceivable 
that he would have Jet this letter leave his possession? 
Quite apart from the challenge to Mountbatten's honour, 
who would dare to sfccuse a man of RadclihVs legal in- 
tegrity and personal reputation of having submitted to 
external pressure from any quarter before reaching a judi- 
cial decision? 


new delhi, Sunday, 21st March, 1948 
The Indian and Pakistan Press have reacted to the 
Chinese Plan along expected lines. The Hindustan Times 
regards it as "the first serious attempt to solve the dispute 
on a reasonable and practicable basis", adding that "the 
main provisions are such as can and should be accept- 
ed by self-respecting and peace-loving nations". Dawn, 
on the other hand, ventures to hope that "the Security 
Council will show the same sense of realism as it did be- 
fore and in that light view the Chinese attempt at 'com- 
promise' by granting one party almost everything and 
the other parly nothing". The Pakistan argument is still 
that the status of the administration must be decided after, 
and not before, a free and unrestrained verdict of the 
Kashmir people. 

The only new element in this depressing debate is a sug- 
gestion in the Hindustan Times, yesterday— and in view 
of Devadas Gandhi's and G. D. Birla's connections it is 
always advisable to pay some attention to ballons d'essai 
released from this quarter. Discussing terms of reference 
open to the Kashmiris in a plebiscite, the paper states, 
"Wc think it would be wrong and unjust to call upon 
them to vote only for accession with either Dominion. 
They should be -given a free choice to accede to either 
or to be independent." 


Tuesday, 23rd March, 1948 
Mountbatten continues to take a close interest in the 
whole question of India's future relations with the Com- 
monwealth, and has a*sked us to prepare a short situation 
report. There is not, of course, much initiative that he 
can take. His views are known both here and in London. 
Decision as to India's role and title now rests with those 
who frame and approve the Indian constitution. But 
clearly we are approaching a climactic moment in the 
history of Commonwealth relations when it becomes ne- 
cessary- to re-define a concept so largely indefinable. I 

Definition and detection 


recall from my school days the dictum of the wise histo- 
rian that "to define, the faith is to limit the faithful". The 
Commonwealth has certainly prospered to date on an in- 
stinctive understanding of this principle. 

I have just been reading a most interesting article in the 
January issue of International Affairs* on 'The implica- 
tions of Eire's relationship with the British Common- 
wealth of Nations". It is by Nicholas Mansergh,f who, 
incidentally, visited India — and Viceroy's House — last 
summer. In this paper he advocates the doctrine of "ex- 
ternal association" as being the most promising formula 
for the future development of the Commonwealth and 
as being applicable both to Eire and India. 

External association involves no formal constitutional 
link, and, as envisaged by de Valera, under it Common- 
wealth citizenship would be discarded and citizenship of 
reciprocal rights substituted. Eire's position in the Com- 
monwealth, Mansergh points out, has only been main- 
tained so far because, while de Valera has steadily pur- 
sued the doctrine of external association, the rest of the 
Commonwealth has no less steadily refused to take cog- 
nisance of his •actions. Now, with only one more link 
remaining to be broken, and Eire's declared intention be- 
ing to break it, the agreement to differ can no longer be 

In a note to Vernon about the Staff paper, I have writ- 
ten: "To my mind the key question is whether or not the 
concept of the Commonwealth is to be widened beyond 
the terms envisaged in the Statute of Westminster. My 
personal view is that the Indian decision, when it is reach- 
ed, will probably be politically ambiguous, as the Irish 
one was, and that it will then be up to the other members 
to decide whether the terms of membership need to be 
altered to include India or are wide enough as they stand. 

* Quarterly publication of the Royal Institute of International 

t Abe Bailey Professor of Commonwealth Relations at the 
Royal Institute of International Affairs. 



Before preparing any paper on the subject I think we 
would be, well advised to check up with B. N. Rau* 
whether there is any expectation thaUsome new over-all 
concept of Commonwealth will be elaborated pari passu 
with India's own changed position. I saw Rau at the 
Nepalese party the other evening, and said we would ap- 
preciate an early talk with him. 

"Given adjustments, it would not necessarily follow 
that the Indian Head of State would need to be nomi- 
nated by the Crown for the Commonwealth link to be 
maintained. Some formula for confirming the appoint- 
ment of an elected President might perhaps be evolved 
which would enable the draft constitution to go through 
unamended. Citizenship may well prove to be the key 
tcsl, and the issue would be not the supersession of India's 
Commonwealth status by some form of citizenship, but 
common citizenship comprising Commonwealth status." 


Wednesday, 7th April, 1948 
The past fortnight has been comparatively serene at 
Government House. The Mountbattens have been most 
of the time on tour, havinc been awav from Delhi on four 
occasions since the 20th March. They have visited 
Kapurthala; at last completed the twice-postponed tour of 
Travancore and Cochin in the far south; spent twenty- 
four hours at Udaipur, with its artificial lakes and island 
palace, and finally have just returned to-day from a week- 
end's rest at Mashobra. 

There have been moments uf light relief, it seems, on 
tour, as when the Maharaja of Kapurthala, now seventy- 
six years old — the last seventy-one of which he has been 
on the gadi— referred to the Mountbattens during his 
speech of welcome as "Lord and Lady Willingdon"! 

* Sir Bencgal Rau, now the Chief Indian Delegate to the 
United Nations, was the Senior Civil Servant primarily responsi- 
ble for the drafting and preparation of the Indian Constitution. 



Coherent conversation with the Maharaja of Cochin, 
who was in a very feeble condition, proved difficult, as 
the only political question he put to Mountbatten was to 
ask him whether he had ever met Stalin, Otherwise his 
sole topic of conversation was his family, which numbers 
in all four hundred and sixty-one members, in Travan- 
core and Cochin the dynastic system is on a matriarchal 
basis, the sons of all the female members of the ruling 
family succeeding in strict rotation according to age. It 
is thus a matter of chance if the ruler of the day is the 
brother or third cousin twice removed of his predecessor. 
In a family the size of the Cochin dynasty the system in- 
evitably means that a series of very old gentlemen follow 
each other on the throne in rapid succession. 

Mountbatten has come back to meet an immediate 
crisis over Hyderabad, On our return from Burma 
there was a letter awaiting him from the Nizam. As he 
was due to leave Delhi again, and wished in any case to 
phase out of the controversy, acting in his constitutional 
capacity "on advice", he asked the Ministry of States to 
reply on his behalf, and advised the Nizam accordingly. 
This States Ministry letter, drafted originally by V. P., 
heated up by Patel and cooled down by Nehru, was not 
seen by Mountbatten until after its dispatch, when it was 
still very stiff and threatening in tone. It openly accused 
the Nizam's Government of breaches of the Standstill 
Agreement, and called upon it to fulfil its obligations and 
ban the Ittehad and Razakars. 

Monckton, who had previously indicated that he would 
be washing his hands of the whole matter, has now re- 
turned to the scene, reaching Hyderabad on the 2Sth 
March. The effect upon him of the States Ministry let- 
ter and the general situation which he has found in the 
State has been profound. Usually calm and affable, he 
arrived in Delhi last night in a mood to do battle with 
all comers, the Governor-General included. He brought 
back with him the Nizam's reply, a skilfully drafted docu- 



men I which scores several points off the Indian demarche 
and has all the hallmarks of his own inspiration. The 
opening paragraph of the letter speaks of information 
reaching the Nizam which has given him reason to regard 
the letter from the Stales Ministry as being in the nature 
of an ultimatum, and a prelude to an open breach of 
friendly relations. He therefore makes "a final appeal" 
to Mountbalten to exercise his good offices and prevent 
such a contingency. 

As the result of a very frank talk to-day based upon 
their firm friendship and deep understanding of each other's 
mind and motive, Mountbatten has succeeded in reassur- 
ing Monckton that the Government of Jndia envisage no 
ultimatum and that they are no party to blockade. Nehru 
came along shortly afterwards to confirm this in person. 

Another large rock has been thrown into the pool, how- 
ever, with the publication to-day in a number of Indian 
papers,, including the Hindustan Times, of a bloodthirsty 
speech alleged to have been delivered on the 31st March 
by the fanatical Ittehad leader, Kasim Razvi, at the in- 
auguration of "Hyderabad weapons week". As report- 
ed, Razvi urges the Moslems of Hyderabad not to sheathe 
their swords until their objective of Islam's supremacy has 
been achieved. One of the most sinister phrases quoted 
is "our Moslem brothers in the Indian Union will be our 
fifth columnists". Language of this nature, of course, is 
designed to induce communal strife throughout the whole 
of south India, which has so far, by a merciful dispen- 
sation, remained immime from the deadly passions of the 


Sunday, 11th April 1948 
The Razvi plot thickens. Monckton left yesterday for 
Hyderabad not only convinced of the need for the Nizam 
to introduce responsible and representative government 
at an early date, but also firmly intending to proffer the 


advice thai he should order the early arrest of Razvi. 
But to-day a telegram arrived from Monckton advising 
Mountbatten that the Hyderabad Government is satisfied 
that the alleged "Jehad" speech of 31st March was never 
in fact delivered, and that accordingly it looks like a cal- 
culated attempt to prevent the resumption of friendly re- 

Mountbatten called me in at once, asking me as a mat- 
ter of urgency to find out the available facts. So I have 
in effect donned my deer-stalker hat, and am now ab- 
sorbed in solving "the mystery of the Razvi oration". 
It will need all Sherlock Holmes' powers of deduction it 
I am to sifl my way through the contradictory but in- 
conclusive evidence surrounding this episode; as it is, I 
share Dr. Watson's bewilderment. The first strange 
feature, of couise. is the cxtraordinaiy delay of a week 
between the publication of the address in the Indian Press, 
much of it in direct speech, with references to the audi- 
ence's enthusiastic interjections, and its alleged delivery 
on the 31st March. 

Two days ago, in the Legislative Assembly, Nehru, in 
describing the speech as a direct incitement to violence 
and murder, spoke ot it also as "one of the many inflam- 
matory speeches of Mr. Ra/vi \ Yesterday, in confirm- 
ation of this, the Hindustan Times and other papers duly 
quoted from a carefully chosen list ot similar utterances 
by Razvi, some of which I had not seen before, but all 
of which arc accounted for as having been made from 
September onwards. Now, under an authoritative As- 
sociated Press of India dateline, Razvi seems to have per- 
petrated an even more grotesque verbal aggression than 
the one I am trying to track down. For now he is re- 
ported as demanding nothing less than the return of ceded 
territory in Madras and asserting, with the bravura o*f a 
Moghul fcmperor, "The day is not far off when the waves 
of the Bay of Bengal will be washing the feet of our sove- 




Friday „ 16th April, 1948 
Part of Mir Laik Ali*s and Razvi's denial is that there 
was neither a rally nor a weapons week on the 31st March 
at which the alleged speech could have been made, but 
this is not correct. Eric Brkter* was there, and 1 have 
now checked on the facts as far as he knows them. He 
tells me that he was present at a parade between eight 
and ten on the morning of the 31st, and that Razvi took 
the salute at a gathering of between four and five hund- 
red Razakars, but that there was definitely no speech 
made while he was there. He heard the parade being 
dismissed, and stayed on for some twenty minutes after- 
wards, returning to a house with a veranda room, where 
about twenty or thirty other people were also present. Tea 
and cakes were handed round, and the conversation was 
confined to small talk. Britter adds that Razvi came to 
the door with him and saw him off, but he is naturally 
in no position to say whether Razvi held any meeting 
afterwards. So the element of mystery remains. 

What information I have been able to collect from the 
various sources suggests that Razvi's meetings, public and 
private, are regularly attended by agents both of Munshi 
and the Nizam. No doubt, to complete the circle of hide 
and seek, the Nizam's and Munshi's sayings are being 
reported back by agents of Razvi. The reality of these 
shadowy figures is anyone's guess, but I am ready to be- 
lieve that Razvi is providing them with ample source mate- 
rial and is engaged on a political campaign which, if it 
succeeds, can only enc^in the bloodshed it constantly in- 
vokes and in a final rupture between India and Hydera- 

Britter, while certainly holding no brief for Razvi, con- 
siders that India is in danger of unduly forcing the pace in 
its Hyderabad policy. He believes that time is needed, 
by which he means freedom from Congress or Commun- 

* Delhi correspondent of The Times. 



ist pressure for some five years, during which the tran- 
sitions first to a Government of communal parity and then 
to one of Hindu majority rule can be effected. Under 
these conditions he considers that the forces of moderation 
and reform would prevail, but that present impatience 
must induce the violent answer. The obverse to this 
image of peaceful change is that the record of the Nizam 
over the past quarter of a century encourages the belief 
that, if left to his own devices and in possession of a 
sovereignty which he never enjoyed under the paramount 
power, he will continue to reinforce the prerogatives of 
himself and of the communal oligarchies around him. 

My sense of the situation is that he is playing for time, 
hoping thereby to avoid concessions, and that the domi- 
nant need is to bring home to him by all the resources 
of persuasion that the transfer of power is a reality, that 
the time for finesse is, already over, and that his State's 
and his own highest interest lie in a quick settlement. 

At the present moment Mountbatten is closely engaged 
in meetings to hammer out a formula which will break 
the dangerous deadlock. Monckton returned here on 
Wednesday, and Mir Laik Ali arrived yesterday. To- 
day, in the peaceful seclusion of the Government House 
swimming-pool grounds, Mir Laik Ali had lunch with 
Mountbatten alone. They were two hours together in 
all, and Mountbatten feels that he has at last begun to 
make some impression upon Mir Laik Ali's obstinate 
personality and devious attitude to the problem. He is 
still convinced, however, that he is by no means the ap- 
propriate Prime Minister for the difficult diplomacy ahead. 
His mulishness in negotiation cannot fail, if persisted in 
much longer, to cause a final breakdown. 

This is perhaps the decisive moment. Patel is now 
sufficiently recovered to have a hand in official negotia- 
tions, which means that all the principals, apart from the 
Nizam himself, are now directly engaged — Mountbatten 
serving as a one-man "good offices commission". 




Saturday, 17 th April. 1948 
After three days of intense discussion, with Mount- 
batten seeing Nehru, V. P. and Monckton each morning 
to achieve an agreed line of action before the official 
meetings with Mir Laik Ali, a four-point programme has 
in principle been accepted. It was taken up by V. P. to 
Patel in Mussoori, where he is now recuperating, and, to 
Mountbatten's surprise and relief, Patel at last withdrew 
his veto on anything other than full accession, giving the 
plan his vital support. 

The four points calling for the Nizam's agreement 
are : - - 

(1) Immediate steps to bring Razvi under control, 
beginning with a ban on Razakar processions, public 
demonstrations, meetings and speeches. 

(2) The release of the imprisoned States Congress 
members, beginning at once with the leaders. 

(3) Genuine and immediate reconstruction of the 
existing Government to make it representative of 
both Communities. 

(4) The early introduction of responsible Govern- 
ment and the formation of a Constituent Assembly 
bv the end of the year. 

Monckton has told Mountbatlen that he proposes to 
advise the Nizam to confirm his acceptance of these points 
by changing his Prime Minister: He appreciates that 
Mir Laik Ali is thoroughly distrusted here, and that no 
single move would create more confidence in the Nizam's 
intentions than the appointment of a man of the calibre 
of Zain Yar Jung, Hyderabad's urbane and able Agent- 
General in Delhi. His loyalty to the Nizam is not in 
doubt, but neither is his underlying realism. He has 
made a considerable impression on the Government, and 
in particular on V. P. 




Monday, 19th April, 1948 
1 ast week a majority of the members of the Security 
Council, having exhausted the possibilities of producing 
any plan fully acceptable to both sides, tabled an agreed 
resolution making various recommendations but nothing 
moie— to the two Governments. Nehru's ieaction was at 
tirst violently adverse He wrote to Mountbatten yester- 
day calling the resolution something entirely different from 
the original Chinese resolution of Dr Tsiang and arguing 
that it rejected every contention put forward by the In- 
dian delegate. The only course now open to the Indian 
Government, he added ominously, was to oppose it com- 
pletely. Mountbatten replied that in his opinion lew if 
any of the amendments in the new resolution were funda- 
mental. Vernon was instructed to write out the differ- 
ences in the form of a table which was duly prepared in 
time foi Mountbatten's meeting with Nehru to-day. 

At the outset, it seems, Nehru was fully resolved to 
issue instructions of general condemnation to Ayyengar at 
Lake Success, but Mountbatten, with his overwhelming 
persistence and flair for argument in detail, finally pre- 
vailed on Nehru to break down and localise his objec- 
tions under four specific headings, thiee of which on an- 
alysis can be seen as expressions of the Government of 
India's desire not to allow a whittling down of Sheikh 
Abdullah's authority Mountbatten has also been instru- 
mental in securing Nehiu's agreement that the proposed 
plebiscite commission should be allowed to come to India. 

1 saw Mountbatten immediately afterwards, and he was 
deeply satisfied with the outcome of the talk, which has 
clearly caused Nehiu to act upon second thoughts and to 
avoid taking a dangerous decision from a preconceived 


Wednesday, 21st April, 1948 
Under the new dispensation Delhi's social life is re- 
verting from sherry — six to eight, to tea— four to six. 



Patel gave this new fashion a boost by holding court over 
the tea-cups in the garden of his home at Aurangzeb 
Road. It was his first social appearance since his serious 
illness. The Diplomatic Corps, a galaxy of Princes, Cabi- 
net Ministers, Congress leaders, business magnates and 
editors were there standing around in groups or taking 
their places at the small tea-tables. Many of them were 
lining up to say a few words- of greeting to the Sardar, 
who, bolstered and blanketed, reclined on a sofa. He 
was looking very fragile, as indeed he still is, but the whole 
occasion served as a gentle reminder that executive au- 
thority still flows from him. The Mountbattens spent 
about a quarter of an hour with him, and he was obvi- 
ously highly gratified to see them. 

To-day's lea-parly was at V. P.'s home to about a 
dozen journalists, Indian and European, to introduce 
them to His Highness of Kashmir, who looked very ill— 
at-easc and said very little. Indeed, when questions were 
asked about his departure from his capital, it was left to 
the Jam Sahib to give us a homily on his brother- Prince's 
courage and general devotion to duty. J came away feel- 
ing that the whitewash had perhaps been laid on too thick- 
ly. The Maharaja, who is a broken man and in a some- 
what pathetic plight, has been complaining bitterly over 
the treatment meted out to him. His home has been 
commandeered, Cabinet action taken without his being 
given any advance intimation. He wants to know where 
the authority lies to protect him from these indignities. 
Mountbatten has brought the matter up with Patel, who 
in his turn has promised to discuss it with Nehru. 

Mountbatten tells me he had a very interesting post- 
mortem with the Maharaja yesterday, upbraiding him for 
not taking the advice he had proffered to him in June to 
accede one way or the other by the 15th August. At 
first the Maharaja was inclined to defend his indecision 
by saying, "Look at the trouble that boiled up when 1 
did accede, and think what would have happened if I 
had done so earlier.'" But Mountbatten pointed out that 



if he had acceded to India on time, Pakistan simply could 
not have moved, and if to Pakistan, India would not have 
done so. Patel's pledge on this had been categorical. 




Saturday, 24th April, 1948 
Monckton left for London on the 19th, and wrote to 
Mountbatten from Karachi reporting on the results of his 
conversations with the Nizam. He warned that of the 
four points agreed to in Delhi, the one most likely to 
cause trouble in Hyderabad and to stand in the 
way of a quick settlement was the problem of pro- 
viding machinery for the introduction of responsible gov- 
ernment. The formation of a Constituent Assembly on 
a simple population basis giving the Hindus the over- 
whelming majority within a week would simply not be 
feasible for the Nizam. Monckton stressed, however, the 
need for the Nizam to insist upon a reconstruction of his 
Government to make it more genuinely representative of 
all shades of communal opinion. The Nizam had wanted 
Monckton to slay, but he refused to do so, on the grounds 
that he was sure he could not remain on in the Stale 
without compromising himself unless and until a new 
Government had taken over. 

The expectation has been that the Nizam would imple- 
ment the four-point programme through one of his decrees 
or firmans. The firman was duly issued yesterday, and 
the expectation duly disappointed. Nearly all the psycho- 
logical value of its practical concessions to the need for 
implementing the four points has been wantonly thrown 
away in a phrase. 



After an expression of hope that "those political parties 
which are not represented in the present Interim Govern- 
ment in Hyderabad will join and take a proper share in 
shouldering the responsibility of the Government", the 
firman, with the dialectic of the death-wish, continues, "I 
have felt apprehensive that mere imitation of a form of 
Government elsewhere might poison the atmosphere of 
our country in the same way as it is doing in other places". 
The readiness to lose so much in order to score so little, 
baffles the best mediating intentions. 


Wednesday, 28th April, J94S 
Fay and 1 dined to-night amid fairy-lights on the lawn 
of the Delhi Gymkhana Club. Our host was Shri 
Krishna,* who had collected an interesting party. The 
principal guest was Dr. Ambedkar, the Minister of Law, 
the leader of the Untouchables, and a colourful personality 
in Indian politics over the past twenty years. He is now 
one of the principal figures associated with the prepara- 
tion of India's new Constitution, which finally removes 
the stigma of untouchability from the Statute book. As 
part of his emancipation, Ambedkar, himself an untouch- 
able, has only recently married a lady doctor who is a 
Brahmin. The custom of centuries cannot be uprooted 
overnight, and the event has caused quite a stir. His wife 
was with him this evening, but, as is the custom with so 
many Indian ladies on social occasions, had little to say. 

Ambedkar himselfwas in expensive vein, and gave us 
a revealing analysis of some of the features of the new 
Constitution. He pointed out, for instance, that the special 
powers reserved to the judiciary under its provisions were 
greater than those enjoyed by the United States Supreme 
Court. As evidence of the enduring quality of the 1935 
Act, he said that some two hundred and fifty of its clauses 

* Shri Krishna, well-known Delhi political correspondent 



bad been embodied as they stood into the new 

We had a discussion on Cabinet government. Ambedkar 
referred to the complaint that the present system was 
working too slowJy in India. He thought that where a 
matter of policy affecting two departments was involved 
the issue should at once be settled as between the Minis- 
ters concerned. He commended the Geddes proposals 
and the system of non-departmental Cabinet chiefs with 
groups of departmental deputies under them. He said he 
was very sorry Mountbatten was leaving before the Con- 
stitution was finally passed. The Commonwealth issue, 
he felt, was likely to be decided outside the Constituent 

GOVLRNMF.NT HOUSh, NEW 1)1.1.111, 

Tuesday. 4th May, 1948 
The Hyderabad stalemate has been causing Mountbat- 
ten much anxiety. He is anxious both on personal and 
public grounds to bring the negotiations to a happy end- 
ing. Properly exploited, he believes that the short time- 
now little more than six weeks— before he hands over the 
Governor-Generalship to C. R. should serve as an induce- 
ment to both sides to iron out their differences. But it is 
no mean problem to decide just when and how his in- 
fluence can be brought to bear with the maximum effect, 
particularly in Monckton's absence. 

Mountbatten's proposal has been to send a last warn- 
ing letter to the Nizam now, and a draft has been in active 
preparation, but 1 have weighed in heavily, urging him not 
to do this until all other remedies have been tried. My 
case is that the letter as drafted in its present form is 
psychologically the wrong approach. 

As I put it in a note to Ronnie, "No doubt it will read 
well on the record in ten years' lime, but the judgement 
of history will be not only whether the advice was good 
but also whether it was so presented to the Nizam that 
in his present mood and situation he would be likely to 



accept it. A letter of this nature should only be released 
in the last resoit after every other expedient has failed, 
when it should be lodged as the final friendly plea. H.E/s 
greatest gift is undoubtedly direct diplomacy by personal 
contact. The objections to his visiting Hyderabad are 
very weighty and will be pressed by the Government with- 
out whose authority he cannot now go. My submission 
therefore is that the primary aim should be to get the 
Nizam to Delhi with no strings attached to the visit, but 
simply for the purpose of providing Mountbatten with an 
opportunity of talking to him as man to man.'' 

At a meeting at ten o'clock this morning at which 
V. P., Ronnie, Vernon and myself were present. Mount- 
batten agreed with my view. V. P. raised the point that 
the Ni/am would probably reply by renewing the invita- 
tion lor Mountbatten to go to Hyderabad, but he agreed 
that this difficulty could be overcome on the grounds ot 
Mountbatten's limited time here. 

A general talk followed on the Princely situation. The 
process of the States" integration, which began with the 
group in Orissa and Bihar and which has been driven for- 
ward on Palel's behalf with dynamic energy by V. P. 
himself, has for the time being at least reached saturation 

The covenant for the largest union yet created was sign- 
ed on the 22nd April. It is called the Malwa Union, and 
comprises the Gwalior-Indore-Malwa group of States, 
twenty in all, covering an area of forty-seven thousand 
square miles and involving a population of more than 
seven million. There^has been some delicacy in naming 
the Rajpramukh or Constitutional head of the Union 
nominally elected by a Council of Rulers. Gwalior, who 
is a twenty-one-gun Prince, is to have the position. Even 
more difficult was the choice of a capital city. Here the 
compromise is Gwalior for the winter and Indorc for the 
summer capital. Bhopal has reiterated his desire to re- 
main out of the Malwa Union, but has gone quite a long 
way to make his peace with the Government, and has 



announced his intention to introduce responsible govern- 
ment in his State. 

Only to-day another type of merger takes place. The 
State of Kutch is to be merged diicct with the Govern- 
ment of India. This, I understand, is being done pri- 
marily because of Kutch's important strategic position. 
There are other variations of the pattern. The Ruleis in 
the Dcccan Slates and the Gujerat Rulers over one 
hundred ol them in all — have both merged under separate 
agreements with the Bombay piovince. \ ast Punjab and 
Madras have entered into similar arrangements^ with ad- 
joining States. One oi the most comprehensive self-sup- 
porting mergers has been the formation of the Saurashtra 
Union of the two hundicd and scvenleen Kathiawar 
States. The Rajpramukh here is the Jam Sahib ol Nawa- 
nagar, who has entered whole-heartedly into this new dis- 
pensation and promises to play an increasingly important 
part in Central politics These Unions are to be governed 
through popular ministries. 

To-monow yet another covenant will be signed, this 
time for the union of the Sikh States. Negotiations hcie 
have hinged round the attitude ol Paliala. He was en- 
titled to remain out on his own, but without him the other 
Sikh States could not achieve a viable union. V. P. told 
us that he has now definitely decided I > tome in, on the 
understanding that he and his Stale an* given a position 
in it commensurate with their relative importance, so he 
is to be Rajpramukh, and Kapuithala his dcpulv This 
is certainly a great victorv lor V. P., and should un- 
doubtedly turn the balance of power in Sikh affairs in 
favour of the Central Government and againsi the am- 
bitious exponents ol Sikhistan, a separate Sikh Stale carv- 
ed out of the Last Punjab. 

Another remarkable development has been the ioniza- 
tion of a Union of Rajpulana Princes. It began as a mer- 
ger of the smaller States, but then look nu«ie significant 
shape as a result of Udaipur's decision to join in. When 
Mountbatten visited Udaipur, His Highness told him that 



he had decided of his own free will to take this step, as 
being in the highest interests of his people. The Udaipur 
dynasty is one of the most august in India, and the Ruler's 
entry is likely to have a considerable eflect on the other 
major Rajputana States, which, as viable units, have their 
individual representation in the Constituent Assembly. Of 
the nineteen Slates enjoying this initial right, seven have 
uuw joined one or other of the Unions. 

It is high statesmanship that can cover a revolutionary 
act in the mantle of traditional form. V. P. was saying 
this moining that the sins oi the father had indeed been 
visited upon the sons. It wa^ the iailure of the old Patiala 
and Bikaner to accept the 1^35 lederal Plan that nearly 
broke up the whole structure of the Indian State. Only 
Mount batten's last-minute sponsorship of accession saved 
the day, thus enabling the present Patiala and Bikaner to 
play a vital part in consolidating the new relationship. 

Mounlbatten freely confessed that he did not foresee, 
when he negotiated the Instrument ot Accession last year, 
that the extension oi subjects would be demanded or grant- 
ed so soon: but he mentioned an inleiesting opinion ex- 
pressed by Nye that the seriousness of the States pioblem 
had not been appreciated at all outside India, and was in 
fact graver in its implications than the ptoblem of dealing 
with the Congress, Moslem League or Sikh leaders. Nye 
said that he had practically despaired of any friendly 
settlement with the Princes, and had visualised trouble 
ot incalculable dimensions after the 15th August. He 
would not have been surprised if it had taken at least a 
generation to reach the position achieved by May 1948, 
and he felt that history would iccall this as a most re- 
markable feat. 

Just how much the climate has changed can be seen 
with the entry of His Highness of Dholpur into the scheme 
of things. Lasi August his mood was such that any con- 
cept of merger beyond accession would have been wholly 
unacceptable, but here he is to-day, his Princely status 



luly acknowledged, Rajpramukh of the United State of 

Mountbatlen also raised at this morning's Staff Meeting 
ihe problem of the Defence Committee. Policy is still 
unrelated to military capability. Mountbatten reminded 
V. P. that he had agreed to the initial march into Kashmir 
as an acceptable military risk, but now the situation was 
different. As a commander with some experience in logis- 
tical problems, he felt that Nehru and Palel were not 
fully facing up to the military implications of the position. 
Mkwntbattcn said he was very disappointed that the De- 
fence Committee procedure was not being properly adopt- 
ed. He only hoped that when he phased out it would 
be kept up, and begged V. P. to back it. 

Before the meeting broke up he recapitulated the revis- 
ed approach to Hyderabad. He said that my proposal to 
try first of all to get the Ni/am up to Delhi should be 
regarded as firing the "right barrel". The "left barrcP 
of a final appeal and remonstrance he would charge to 
meet all eventualities*, but not fire. 

In the afternoon I went round to Hyderabad House, an 
impressive residence at the far end of Kingsway and the 
vista, i was shown into a large drawing-room, where most 
of the blinds were drawn. In the middle distance 
I could just see large photographs of the two hand- 
some daughters-in-law of the Ni/am, who are also the 
daughter and cousin of the last Caliph, and thus in them- 
selves the symbols of His Fxalted Highnesses religious and 
dynastic aspirations. Zain Yar Jung duly appeared with 
his son, to whom he introduced me, and we all took tea 
together. He conveyed an impression of suavity and 
polish without any trace of the fanatical streak. J find 
it difficult to believe that he can have much in common 
with the Ittehad clique. Their trust in him and his in- 
fluence over the Nizam are factors that must no doubt 
be assessed with some reserve at this time. 

J broached the whole question of a possible visit from 
the Nizam. He felt that His Lxaltcd Highness would only 


come up if transport was made very easy for him. It was 
a Jong journey, and a special air-cooled compartment 
would be needed. He hated flying, and even the idea 
of it was utterly repugnant to him. He still drives about 
Hyderabad in his 1910 Rolls. Bombay suggested itself 
to Zain as a possible compromise meeting-place. He also 
felt that Monckton would have to approve and come out 
again from England to hold the old man's hand. He said 
finally that he was noi wholly unhopeful that the Nizam 
might agree. 


Sunday, 9th May, J948 
After seeing a somewhat tiresome film at the Govern- 
ment House cinema, called Copacabana, Vernon told me 
of talks between Mountbatten, Zain and V. P., and sub- 
sequently with Zain and V. P. alone. Zain only got back 
this evening from Hyderabad. He had carried Mount- 
batten's letter of invitation and has brought back the 
Nizam's reply. It merely confirms the counter-invitation 
which Mountbatten was not wholly surprised to receive 
in the first instance by telegram on the 6th May. For the 
purposes of the record, Mountbatten's letter and the 
Nizam's telegram crossed. In the reply which Zain has 
just handed in, the Ni/ani gives as one of the reasons for 
saying "no" that any such move * k is certain to give rise to 
grave misunderstanding both inside and outside Hydera- 
bad which I am bound to avoid". Vernon tells me, how- 
ever, that Mountbatten was bubbling over with optimism, 
wholly unwilling to Sdmit defeat, and confident that if 
he could meet the Nizam face to face he could yet pull 
oil an accession agreement. 

Zain warned that there is a marked deterioration in the 
local situation. Some Government supporters have swung 
over to the Razakars, indeed a "No confidence" vote in 
Mir Laik Ali was only just averted, and Zain says there 
are men about now who regard even Razvi as a moder- 




ate. V. P. was very calm and sensible, and ready to offer 
economic concessions as well as access to a port. 

Vernon reports, however, that we are getting danger- 
ously near to the point where there will only be two alter- 
natives left— force or the threat of force. 1 said f felt that 
the crux of the matter now was to know where Ihe real 
power lay. What was the exact status of the Nizam? 
Much would depend on the appreciation he had formed 
of his own position, both from within and from without. 
The Nizam himself must not be under-estimated. I went 
in to see Mountbatten, who thinks that the Nizam is at 
last really frightened. Apparently when Mir Laik All's 
position as Prime Minister was raised with him, he was 
not indignant, but at once asked, "Who do they want?" 


Wednesday, 12th May, 1948 
It is generally agreed that f should visit Hyderabad as 
soon as possible, with the objects of meeting the Nizam 
face to face on Mountbatten's behalf, of forming a per- 
sonal up-to-date impression of the situation and if pos- 
sible inducing a sufficient sense of urgency in the Nizam 
and his advisers for them to reopen negotiations and in 
general make the best use of Mountbatten's last few weeks 
here. At a Staff Meeting this morning, V. P., who warmly 
approved my proposed visit, said there was now definite 
evidence that the Communists and the Razakars were ac- 
tually combining together, and that this was not being 
sufficiently stressed. Mountbatten found it difficult to be- 
lieve that such an alignment could be taking place, but 
V. P. was insistent, regarding it as indeed the central 
factor in the situation. 

Mountbatten began the meeting by asking after Paters 
health. V. P. replied that he was a bit worried about the 
irregularity of his pulse and lack of sleep. One of his en- 
tourage, a doctor, was constantly talking to him about his 
pulse, which only increased its irregularity. 




Thursday. Uth May, 1948 
Before the Defence Committee (which as a result of 
Mountbatten's. initiative has at last been called) Mount- 
batten button-holed Nehru to get him to confirm in my 
presence what he had said to Mountbatten yesterday- 
namely, that he welcomed my going to Hyderabad, and 
that if the Ni/am acceded, the Government of India would 
do all in its power to accord him full physical protection. 
In my briefing the possibility has not been overlooked that 
he is no longer master in his own house, and that some 
smooth and secret Palace revolution has been, or is about 
to be, put into effect. 

After the Defence Committee f saw Nehru again and 
drove off with him to receive further guidance. He said 
he wished only to make some general observations with 
regard to my visit. His philosophy in the matter was that 
to try to avoid trouble was often the best way of inviting 
it. It was not possible to go on just watching shooting in- 
cidents and other disorders that were taking place daily 
on the Hyderabad border. 

After leaving Nehru 1 returned at once to Government 
House, to find V. P. still with Mountbatten. They seemed 
quite pleased with the Defence Committee, which had 
been discursive, but had enabled the military and political 
leaders to form a more sympathetic understanding of each 
other's viewpoint. Mountbatten professes himself to be 
optimistic about my mission. Tt was agreed that I should 
go completely under the auspices of the Hyderabad Go- 
vernment. At five o'clock I went round to Hyderabad 
House for a further tajjc with Zain and his son, Ali Khan. 
Zain's plea was, "If only the Government of India would 
not press too hard all would be well". 


Friday. 14th May, 1948 
\ have had a final run through with Zain. I am to be 
the personal guest of Mir Laik Ali. No exact time-limit 



has been set for the trip. It is agreed that J should be free 
to decide on the spot, but Zain himself hopes to reach 
Hyderabad before I leave it. 

The letter I am conveying to the Nizam expresses dis- 
appointment at His Exalted Highness's refusal of the in- 
vitation to visit Delhi, and doubt as to whether it will be 
physically possible, apart from other considerations, for 
Mountbattcn to come to Hyderabad in the limited time 
now left to him. However, Mountbatten writes, "Before 
1 leave I am most anxious to establish some form of con- 
tact with you over and above the formal negotiations and 
exchange of letters". 

I am then duly introduced as one who has by now serv- 
ed with Mountbatten longer than any other member of 
his personal staff and who has been throughout intimately 
acquainted with all the high level developments in his 
Commands, particularly during this present appointment. 
"He knows my mind completely and enjoys my fullest 
confidence/' "1 may say'*, Mountbatten concludes, "that 
1 have been extremely disturbed by reports which have 
been reaching Delhi with regard both to the Communis! 
and to the communal situation in Hyderabad, and in parti- 
cular to the effect that these may be having on Your Hx- 
alted Highnesses own position. J trust ihcrefore that you 
will not hesitate to let Mr. Campbell-Johnson have your 
frank estimate of the position from the general and' per- 
sonal point of view. I would not wish him to convey my 
personal message except to your Fxalted Highness alone, 
for the presence of others would vitiate the personal con- 
tact between you and me which I hope he may be able 
to establish." 

wSo there it is. To-morrow J leave on a mission of un- 
known dimensions and opportunity. All that is certain 
is that for the next forty-eight hours or so T shall be com- 
pletely cut off from my base, as no contact with Mount- 
batten in Delhi, or rather in Simla, or with the Govern- 
ment of India, will be practicable. It is certainly by far 
the most difficult and delicate task I have ever been called 


upon to undertake during six years in Mountbatten's ser- 
vice. However, I have lived long enough in the vicinity of 
his influence to have caught something of his own buoyant 



Hyderabad, Saturday, J 5th May, 1948 
I n i i Wn xingdon airfield by a charter line Dakota short- 
ly after breakfast, and after a brief pause at Bhopal arriv- 
ed at Hyderabad just before lunch. 

After lunch I was told that His Exalted Highness 
would receive me in little over an hour's lime- i.e., at 
5 p.m. 1 was duly driven to his official residence, "King 
Kothi", as it is called. The Prime Minister had preceded 
me by some ten minutes, and was there on my arrival. 
I was shown at once into a modest reception-room clutter- 
ed high with Victorian bric-a-brac. 1 could just discern 
in the dim light, hanging on the wall, a large portrait of 
King George V. 

Mir I aik Ali stepped forward to introduce me to His 
Exalted Highness, who was sitting almost invisible on a 
large settee. 1 was staggered by his threadbare appearance, 
and for the instant failed to realise I was in his presence, 
but I pulled myself together in time to greet him with 
fitting courtesy. He was dressed most shabbily in what 
looked like a thin white cotton dressing-gown and white 
trousers, with caramel-coloured slippers and light brown 
cotton socks lying loosely about his ankles. He wore a 
brown fez, which was perched on the back of his head. 
He is a small man with a pronounced sloop; his mouth 
is loose and his teeth are in a deplorable condition. His 
hands shook, and while talking he fidgeted and knocked 
his knees together in such a way as to give the observer 



the impression of incipient palsy or St. Vitus* dance. But 
his whole personality is held together by the intensity of 
his expression and the vehemence of his high-pitched 

I could not ascertain whether the Prime Minister pro- 
posed to stay or leave for the interview, but on presenting 
Mountbatten's letter to the Nizam, which he opened and 
read slowly, an opportunity clearly presented itself for 
him to see me alone if he wanted to, but he quite deliber- 
ately refused to take it, and Mir Laik Ali stayed stolidly 
on. Having read the letter, the Nizam turned on me quite 
fiercely, and said that he was well aware of Lord Mount- 
battens limited time and powers out here. "What could 
he hope to do in a month?" he asked. He said that he 
trusted that Lord Mountbatten had clearly understood that 
it was quite impossible for him, the Nizam, to leave 
Hyderabad, and if Lord Mountbatten was not free to 
come and see him, well, then (and he gave a gesture of 
farewell), he was sorry for it, and would say good-bye 
and God-speed to him. 

The Nizam said that as far as his relations with the 
Government of India were concerned, they had his terms. 
He acted through his Prime Minister and his Constitu- 
tional Adviser, and he had nothing more he could say to 
any other party, even on a private basis. I said that Lord 
Mountbatten was naturally deeply concerned to do all in 
his power to achieve a settlement before he left, but time 
was short, and it was for His Exalted Highness to con- 
sider whether there was any way in which the Governor- 
General's good offices could be used. He was, I believed, 
aware of Lord Mountbatten's general approach to the pro- 
blem, and if there were any points of detail or emphasis 
that I could fill in, I would be only too happy to do sp. 

I referred to the special status, that Mountbatten had 
had in effecting "the Standstill Agreement. "That is all 
over, now," he replied. I tried tactfully to explain how 
Mountbatten believed accession or its equivalent was in 
the Nizam's best interests, but he dismissed the whole 

m. m. — 13 


subject with a wave of the hand. Laik Ali intervened at 
this point to say that he would be quite ready to take a 
plebiscite on the issue if only it could be organised peace- 
fully, but the law-and-order problem involved in carrying 
it out had compelled him to turn it down, to which the 
Nizam added, "Quite right, quite right." 

I was unable to draw him out on the question of his 
reaction to the Communist threat in Hyderabad. It was, 
he said, "a matter of detail which you can discuss with 
my Prime Minister". 

He said that the fate and policy of the other Princes in 
India were no concern of his, and that he regarded them 
merely as noblemen to whom some courtesies were due. 

The remainder of the interview was largely devoted to 
the Nizam's giving me a lecture in forcible terms on the 
Moslem philosophy of life, the basis of which was that 
our ends are appointed. He remembered discussing this 
matter with Lothian, the British Resident, who at the time 
was an atheist, and who held some opinions to the effect 
that there was "a measure of chance in our lives, as on 
a race-course". 

It was the Nizam's view that we either had a good or 
a bad fate. He said that the situation might improve in 
the next two or three days, or it might get better later on; 
he could not say. But he was prepared for whatever was 
appointed for him. He then asked me if I had heard of 
Mohurram in the Moslem Calendar, and J replied politel) 
that 1 had. "Ah," he said, "but you do not know what 
it means. It is the commemoration of the death of the 
Prophet's grandson. * And the acceptance of death and 
loss is an inherent part of our faith." (In this respect it 
should be noted that the Nizam visits and prays at the 
grave of his mother every evening at six o'clock.) 

On returning to the subject of Mountballen's interest in 
the survival of the Nizam's dynasty, I explained thai 
Mountbalten was a firm believer in constitutional monar- 
chy, at which the Nizam took me up and said vehemently, 
"That is where F join issue with him. Constitutional mon- 



.irehy may be all very well in Europe and the west; it has 
no meaning in the East." 

The conversation was steered by Mir Laik Ali to the 
Commonwealth issue. The Nizam was interested in know- 
ing what chance there was of India's remaining within the 
Commonwealth. 1 said that this matter was very much 
under consideration at the moment, and that there were 
influential forces who considered that India should stay 
in. At this point T said I could perhaps make an observa- 
tion which had no relation to my being a member of Lord 
Mountbatten's staff, which was that whether India re- 
mained within or went out, British opinion, as represented 
by the present Government, would be most averse to one 
part of the Indian sub-continent receiving more favour- 
able treatment than another, simply as a result of Com- 
monwealth membership. Any calculations made on this 
basis would, f was sure, be illusory. This point, I think, 
went home. 

After a few general remarks on the troubled world 
situation, and the Nizam's expression of concern over the 
latest developments in Palestine, the conversation ended 
with him conveying his most cordial compliments and 
wishes to Mountbatten. 

The interview, which lasted nearly an hour, was not 
a particularly easy one to handle, in view of the Nizam's 
somewhat disconcerting appearance and manner, but as 
providing an opportunity to study his personality and 
mind it was revealing. Although he may be physically 
decrepit, he it; obviously menially alert and in full com- 
mand of his faculties. I was, in fact, left with the impres- 
sion that I had been spoken to by an eccentric elderly Pro- 
fessor on his special subject. He is a Prince of the old 
school- - arrogant and narrow, but on his home ground 
formidable. His mood throughout was one of aggressive 

I saw no evidence of the Ni/am being a prisoner. There 
was quite a large number of police at the entrance and 
by the road, but there is nothing abnormal in this, bearing 



in mind the attempt on the Nizam's life in the autumn, 
and the lack of any real frontage to "King Kothi", which 
was not much farther off the main road than an ordinary 
house in Delhi. Mir Laik Ali incidentally stayed on after 
I left. 

On my return to the Prime Minister's residence, Moin 
came round to see me. 

We discussed treaty or accession, and Moin indicated 
lhat what they really feared was that accession might be 
changed so that it meant in fact accession not on three 
but thirty-three subjects involving uniformity of laws and 
loss of internal autonomy which the Nizam would never 
give up. Moin also gave me to understand that the free 
movement of Indian Defence Forces through Hyderabad 
territory would be unacceptable. 

1 then left to dine with Munshi. 1 may say that travel- 
ling in a fast car it took me forty minutes to reach MunshPs 
house, which is at the far end of Secunderabad, fairly 
near the airfield. Jn this place he is, of course, completely 
out of touch with the life of the city, and can only see 
those who have the time, petrol or political inclination to 
visit him. 

1 found him somewhat baffled and depressed. He said 
that he had lost faith in Mir Laik AH as the result of what 
he termed a completely bogus report the latter had given 
of an interview he had had with him. He told me that 
the position as between Moin and Laik Ali was somewhat 
ambiguous. Although they were brothers-in-law, they did 
not see eye to eye, but Laik was definitely on the crest 
of the wave as far as influence with the Nizam was 
concerned. * 

Munshi said that he did not think that anybody meant 
business either with regard to responsible government or 
to accession, but he agreed with the preliminary' view I 
had formed that the Nizam was politically master of the" 
situation. I reassured him that my trip was personal and 
informal and that I had come with the full knowledge and 
approval of the Prime Minister and V. P. He seemed quite 



happy to return to Bangalore to-morrow morning, saying 
that his wife no longer liked living in this place and thai 
his relations with the Government were so strained that 
he had virtually lost all contact with them. 

Hyderabad, Sunday, 16th May, 1948 
T have completed a crowded day, talking and being talk- 
ed to in unending flow. 1 told Mir Laik Ali that it would 
certainly be interesting to meet Kasim Razvi privately, 
if there was no publicity for the meeting, and it was under- 
stood that 1 was only seeing people whom he himself 
particularly wanted me to see. He replied that he would 
definitely like me to meet Razvi and that the latter would 
be calling on him this morning prior to a lour he was 
making. I was advised to drop in. 

J did so, and after a few minutes of small talk the Prime 
Minister left me alone with Razvi. Jn my opening re- 
marks I said something about feeling depressed at the 
turn of events, to which he at once retorted that he was 
not a bit depressed; he was just desperate. He wished me 
to understand that his sole purpose was the defence of 
the Moslems; to them only did he owe loyalty. I asked 
him whether there was any truth in the report that the 
Communists had been approaching the Razakars with a 
view to common action. "When you say the Razakars", 
Razvi replied very fiercely, "you mean me. 1 tell you 
the condition of the Moslem here is such that they are 
themselves rapidly becoming Communist. I have warned 
them [he did not indicate exactly who 'them* referred to] 
that this was likely to happen." 

He then categorically asserted that he was quite pre- 
pared to work with the Communists and had taken pre- 
liminary action to that end. To make doubly sure {hat 
I had not misunderstood him, I said that 1 presumed one 
difficulty in his way would be the direct challenge thrown 
down by the Communists to the Nizam himself — i.e., the 
Communists* warning that there was to be "no truck with 
the Nizam". Razvi paused for a moment and said yes, 



that he appreciated that difficulty, but later, when T re- 
turned to the subject, he made it quite clear that both the 
dynasty and the Government were secondary considera- 
tions to him if ihc Communists proved to be the only 
allies he could use to save the Moslems from destruction. 
"If only Jndia will leave us alone for two years, I promise 
that J will create something they will envy. Hindus al- 
ready are joining the Razakars." I asked whether with- 
out a political settlement there might not be the same 
crisis at the end of two years, and all he could say was 
yes, but he added that, for one thing, he did not believe 
that the Jndian Union would survive for more than two 

He said that he had absolutely no expectation of a 
peaceable solution, and showed great intensity of racial 
hatred in discussing the Hindus. He thought that Gandhi's 
death was symbolic of Iheir behaviour. Hindus always 
killed their Gods to make them into super-Gods, f asked 
him whether he did not consider that the Communists, 
as at present organised, were predominantly Hindu 
He said that that was so, but that they were less com- 
munally minded than other parties. 

I said thai it was widely held that he was the real strong 
man in the Slate, and asked him what his views were on 
lh r M. He said, "Don't believe all the slanderous reports 
about me as a wire-puller and maker of Governments. J 
am the least person here. 1 am simply the champion and 
servant of (he Moslems* cause, on behalf of which I will 
stop at nothing. The Government call me in for my views 
on occasion, which 1 give to them with complete frank- 
ness/' He told me tnat to save Moslems from death and 
Moslem women from being ravished he was ready to die. 
The Congress representatives in Hyderabad were men of 
straw. "Let me look after the Hindus," he said, smiling 
for the first time. 

Razvi is the complete fanatic. He stares with eyes that 
bore holes into you and would strike terror into his friends 
and enemies, were it not for a streak of absurdity and 



charlatanism about him which even while he rants gives 
him away, making it difficult to take him completely seri- 
ously, and conveying the firm impression that his megalo- 
mania has far out-run his real power. Jn appearance he 
is slight and dapper, sporting a beard of Mack Sennett 
proportions beneath a fez worn at a rakish angle. As he 
walked briskly away he looked like a blend of Charlie 
Chaplin and a minor Prophet. 

Having disposed of Razvi, my next appointment was 
with General El-Ed roos, the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Hyderabad Army, a tall, handsome and, T can well believe, 
very able officer of Hashcmitc Arab slock. He served 
in the field in the Burma campaign under command of 
Mountbatten, for whom, incidentally, he has the highest 
respect. He said that there was some trouble in the 
Sholapur area, that Indian troops had been helping ruf- 
fians to make their way over the border, and that Indian 
aircraft had been making reconnaissances. He was writ- 
ing to Bucher and Elmhirst* privately on this subject. 
He referred to the ordinance position. He said he had 
made a frank ofTer to Himmatsinhjit (without, of course, 
conceding him any right of inspection) to see things for 
himself, which he had done, and he understood that he 
had been satisfied. He said that the Communists were 
very well armed and that the economic blockade v/as 
virtually complete. 

He stressed the intensity of the political suspicions of 
both sides, and snid that although he was a soldier, he 
could not help asking why the Central Government were 
pressing so hard. 1 said that he must appreciate that 
with the creation of Pakistan a strong Centre for the Indian 
Union was essential. "Cannot they see", he said, "that 
Pakistan was their own making, and that the pressure 

* General Sir Roy Bucher and Air Marshal Sir Thomas 
Elmhirst, Commanders-in-Chief of the Indian Army and Air 
Force respectively. 

t General Himmatsinhji, Indian Army, Adviser on States 


they are putting on here is causing a crisis and arousing 
Moslem fanaticism?" "Without this pressure", he went 
on (he clearly was referring to Munshi), "Hyderabad in 
my view would have fallen like a ripe plum.** He said 
that now a serious position was growing up which was 
taking more and more the form of guerilla activity. I 
said I had just seen Razvi, and that he was physically 
smaller than I had expected. El-Ed roos who is some- 
thing of a giant himself, replied with a laugh, "It's the 
little ones that are dangerous.** 

1 went straight from my talk with General El-Edroos 
for a very long session with the Prime Minister. We 
had lunch together alone, and talked for almost two hours. 

Mir Laik Ali began by explaining that he was putting 
forward proposals for representative government. He 
could not just get rid of the Legislative Assembly, so he 
had in mind to set in motion electoral procedure for a 
Constituent Assembly to be elected in addition to it. (I 
assume ultimately to supersede it.) He said that he had 
discussed the matter with the leaders of all parties, and 
he left to them the choice of the electoral procedure they 
wished to adopt, which was either to use the existing 
vocational roll (clearly heavily weighted in favour of the 
Moslems) or to make a fresh electoral list, the prepara- 
tion of which, together with the conduct of the election 
itself, could not, in his view, take less than eighteen 

He said that his dilemma was that the Congress boy- 
cott of the now two-year-old Legislative Assembly meant 
that he had literally^ nothing but their own word to go 
on for the political basis of their popular support. They 
were not, he pointed out, like the Congress elsewhere, 
which was genuinely elected before it carried out its boy- 
cott policy. He said he was awaiting the reaction of the 
parties and hopes to make an announcement by the end 
of this month. 

He then repeated Moin*s views on the accession issue 
and said that his basic objection was that there were not 



just three subjects, but that under those headings there 
were ninety-one in all, as defined under the Indian Con- 
stitution. He said that the internal identity of Hyderabad 
would assuredly be blotted out. He therefore favoured 
a special treaty which would be exclusive to India, and 
which would include: a common Foreign policy; a de- 
fence agreement, Hyderabad having an army of twenty- 
five thousand, some ten thousand of which would be put 
at the disposal of the Indian Union; and a communica- 
tions agreement in which he foresaw no special difficulty. 

I told him the form taken by my interview with Razvi, 
and asked him for his reactions. He told me that he 
thought Razvi must have meant that he would ally him- 
self with the Communists only as a very last resort and 
after the collapse of the Nizam and Government. I re- 
plied that this was not clear from what Razvi had said 
to me, and told him that if Razvi were to go unchecked 
much longer, the Nizam and the Government might find 
themselves literally as the nut in the nut-cracker. 

This conversation did not represent any major advance, 
so far as T know, on any of the previous views Laik Ali 
has held either on responsible government or accession. 

At 7.30 1 went round to General Fl-Edroos* house for 
a second talk. He told me that one of the reasons why 
the Nizam had refused to come to Delhi was the fear 
that he would not be able to get back, and that I might 
well be advised to check on this. He pointed out Hydera- 
bad's strategic importance. While recognising their mili- 
tary weakness, he said that should the worst happen, they 
could and would cut off India from the South. He be- 
lieved an agreement was possible if the politicians allow- 
ed a Treaty giving India control in External Affairs, ad- 
ministration over Defence and Communications. What 
more could they want? he asked. If India pressed this 
matter too far, he went on, resistance was certain. Scott 
had said this as well. 

M. m. — 14 



Hyderabad, Monday, 17th May, 1948 
At 8 p.m. 1 had a last talk with the Prime Minister. I 
told Laik Ali that I wanted to be sure that the Nizam's 
refusal to visit Delhi was not based on any fears as to his 
personal security. He said that there might have been 
some such doubt in the Nizam's mind, but that the domi- 
nating and compelling motive was that if he had come, 
his move would have been seriously misunderstood in 
the State. I told him that \ had been frankly worried 
by the reliance that seemed to be placed on Opposition 
support in England. I said that ! was sure that this was 
a most dangerous illusion. Tor Hyderabad to become 
a Parly issue in the British House of Commons could nol 
serve the real interests of the State. Laik Ali told me that 
he entirely agreed. He personally had the greatest ad- 
miration for Mr. Attlee, and he did not want Hyderabad 
to be bandied about in Party debate anywhere. He said 
that he was most pleased that I had made the visit, which 
he fell had been helpful in every way. 

After f had had a quiet dinner with Zain's son and 
beautiful daughter-in-law, Zain himself, who had arrived 
that afternoon, asked to see me, and I went along to his 
house at 1 1 p.m. He said that he had seen the Ni/am 
alone. He had again been very vehement. "But", added 
Zain, "he always is/' He was very firm on the issue of his 
Legislative Sovereignty, but Zain had told him that it 
was quite essential for him to form a new Government on 
a much broader basis than the present one. He gave me 
to understand that the Ni/am and Laik Ali had at last 
agreed to do this. *The Nizam then apparently raised 
the question of my interview, saying that he had spoken 
exactly what was in his mind to me without any reser- 
vations. The Nizam believed that there was a. ten per 
cent chance that Mounlbalten would even now come him- 
self, and asked Zain what he felt. Zain said that it 
must to some extent depend on the kind of report I sent 
in. The Nizam then began to ask questions about me. 
Who exactly was 1, what were my politics, etc. 



Zain thinks that solution is possible if the Legislative 
reservation is made. He even went so far as to feel that 
the word accession might be brought about. He is pro- 
posing in his talks with the Nizam on Tuesday and Wed- 
nesday (the Nizam had asked him to stay and have an 
extra day for an extra talk) to see if this would be ac- 
ceptable, provided it was strictly limited to three sub- 
jects. He said that he was proposing to speak frankly 
with El-Edroos, who was alleged to be giving military 
assistance to the Razakars. This was causing consider- 
able disquiet in Delhi. Finally, Zain hoped that 1 would 
be able to postpone my visit to Simla until he got back 
on Thursday evening, when I could give Mountbatlen the 
latest information. 

Hyderabad, nuw Di-LHF. Tuesday, I8th May, 1948 
After an early breakfast and a final courtesy good-bye 
lo Mir Laik Ali, ] was accompanied by Captain Baig on 
the long drive to the airfield. Captain Baig's talents as 
an A.D.C. have been fully tested, and he has been to 
endless trouble in steering me from place to place on time 
throughout my fantastic schedule. I leave in the knowl- 
edge that everything possible has been done to throw 
open the gales to me. From the Nizam downwards J 
get the impression that everyone has spoken with trie maxi- 
mum frankness of which he is capable, and there have 
been surprisingly few evasions. If Deen Yar Jung was 
reticent, he was at least receptive. As for my own con- 
tribution, 1 hope and believe that I. may have been in- 
strumental in tempering the general ''death-or-glory" at- 
titude I found on my arrival. 

The return flight in the aircraft was my first chance 
to compose my thoughts. My main impressions, are: 

The Niznm is the key man in the situation. As re- 
gards the major issue of relations with the Indian Union, 
nothing is being done without his approval or connivance. 
Moreover, I consider that any agreement he finally en- 
ters into will be honoured, in the sense that his regime 



is strong enough to withstand internal opposition from 
any quarter. 

He is in a mood of aggressive fatalism, and in my 
judgment is ready, and has the strength, to try to perform 
a "Samson Act" on the Government of India; in other 
words, if he goes under, full preparations have been made 
to ensure that the political and social structure of the 
State should go under with him. Razvi's role in this 
scheme of things is to ensure that this process of disin- 
tegration is completed, and that a mere military victory 
will not suffice to solve the problem. 

On the other hand, the Nizam is searching furtively 
and anxiously for an honourable settlement. He is a 
ruler of the old school; he has no liking for the trappings 
of the Constitutional Monarch, and will put up the same 
kind of resistance to that status as Queen Victoria did. 
The tighter the corner, the more he will fall back on pre- 
rogatives. I do not believe that he will voluntarily ac- 
cept an accession solution which makes him anything 
other than the official fountain-head of law and custom 
inside his own State. 

Any appreciation of the Nizam's attitude must take in- 
to account that the prospects and policy of his fellow- 
Princes do not interest him at all- -he regards them mere- 
ly as impotent noblemen - -and that he is obviously a 
deeply religious man. In times of trouble the Nizam is 
liable to lean heavily on his traditional Islamic beliefs, 
and I am sure he spoke to me with complete sincerity 
on this. * 

In this political bargaining no great advance has been 
made since Laik Ali\s speech to the Hyderabad Legisla- 
tive Assembly on 27th April. It seems likely, however, 
that the Nizam will take a final stand both on the acces- 
sion and the representative Government issues by the 1st 

With regard to Mountbatten's position, there is a very 
widespread feeling that the only chance of a settlement 
Will be through his good offices and influence. But the 



Nizam is clearly sceptical whether either can turn the 
scales in time. A position, however, may conceivably 
be reached in the course of the next fortnight in which 
the differences of detail and interpretation are narrowed 
down sufficiently for Mountbatten to provide the final 
pressure. For the moment there is no more to be done 
with the Nizam; the differences need to be ironed out be- 
tween Zain and V. P. 




Thursday, 20th May. 1948 
I spent all yesterday cut off from the world in a stern 
effort to complete my report for Mountbatten to read a 
day in advance of my own arrival in Simla. 

This afternoon I had an hour's interview with Nehru, 
and ran through my general conclusions with him. He 
considers that the Nizam may have been deliberately "giv- 
ing me the works", and in view of his refusal to enter into 
any discussion with additional parties, he would naturally 
rely on generalities. He agreed wilh me that Dcen Yar 
Jung, who was the real founder of the Razakars, was 
strong enough to face up to the implications of disband- 
ing them. 

The Prime Minister said that the history of Hyderabad 
was not glorious and that they had nearly always given 
way to pressure, eking their collapse before the Mahrattas. 

He realised that the Nizam was genuinely concerned 
about his treasures and personal prerogatives, and he was 
ready to give assurances on these. He said he had no 
intention of forcing accession in terms of the Tndian Con- 
stitution on Hyderabad. Any further subjects would be 



a matter of separate negotiation. Nor had he any in- 
tention of swallowing up the Hyderabad Army. 

He referred to the Nizam's religion, «and said that his 
emphasis on Mohurram in his talk with me was signifi- 
cant, as it commemorated the event which marks the 
break between the Shia and Sunni Sects of the Moslem 
faith. The Hyderabadis were Sunni Moslems, and it was 
suspected that the Nizam himself was a crypto-Shia. 

1 said J hoped he had not been unduly disturbed about 
the publicity, and explained that it was primarily due to 
the zeal of Munshi's stall. I had done my best to keep 
it under control. (I understand there was some criticism 
from one or two members of the Cabinet, but it did not 
come from Nehru or Patel, who were not worried.) Nehru 
said again this afternoon that it did not matter or alfect 
the value of the visit. 

Nehru says he finds the Nizam's attitude hard to un- 
derstand, as he does not believe that he is at all cut out 
for a heroic role. 

After some initial uncertainty as to whether they were 
going to meet, Zain went round to V. P.'s house at 9 
p.m., and I joined them shortly afterwards. 

With the background- of general border tension, V. P. 
was strongly of the opinion that the present uncertainty 
cannot be allowed to linger on, and after one or two ten- 
tative programmes had been considered and rejected, a 
complicated sequence of meetings was worked out in- 
volving an invitation to Mir Laik Ali to arrive in Delhi 
on the 22nd, a visit by Nehru and V. P. to Patel in 
Mussoori, and Mountbatlen's participation at a decisive 
point in the discussions, and in advance of any firm de- 

The conversation, although somewhat incoherent and 
protracted, was frank and cordial. The gravity of the 
situation was recognised in the light of border incidents 
and the Sardar s views. Zain himself gave no indication 
whatever of the Ni/anfs attitude on anv of the main sub- 
jects under discussion, but V. P. reassured him on the 



limitation of accession to three subjects - anything more 
to be negotiated; the identity and integrity of the Hydera- 
bad Army; and the Nizam's legislative powers. (This 
last is a most tricky constitutional and political issue on 
which we will need to brief ourselves carefully.) Laik's 
position and the reconslitutioti of the Government were 
considered. Zain stressed the difficulty of Laik dismiss- 
ing the whole Cabinet except himself and re-forming it, 
but this matter will be frankly discussed at the forthcom- 
ing meeting. The possibility of Zain himself taking part 
in the new Government was considered. He said he 
would prefer to serve as Deputy to someone else, but 
was ready to co-operate provided his appointment came 
from the Ni/am direct, and not as a result of pressure 
from the Government of India. 

Zain seemed to feel that V. P.'s proposals on all these 
subjects were being made in a more palatable form than 
before, but so far as I know there was no change of 
ground on the Indian side. V. P., however, spoke in 
the most fervent and emotional terms of his esteem for 
Zain and of his wish for settlement, and the understand- 
ing thai clearly exists between the two men is encourag- 
ing. The situation now largely revolves round the Mus- 
soori meeting with Palcl and the measure of discretion 
V. P. can get from that meeting. V. P. anticipates that 
it will be no easy encounter. 

Both V. P. and Zain were good enough to say that 
my visit to Hyderabad had been helpful. 


Saturday, 22nd May, 194ti 
To complete this crowded week, Fay and I set on; on 
our last trek to Simla. The Mountbattens and nearly all 
the Staff have been here ever since the beginning of my 
Hyderabad trip. So much has happened since 1 left, and 
1 have been so absorbed in my own activities, that it 
seems almost like a return from exile. 



T have had two long talks with Mountbatten alone. 
He says he only wishes now that he had sent me down 
earlier, as the value of my report to him is in its objec- 
tivity. He has found it very hard, in view of his own 
friendship for Monckton and his personal desire to achi- 
eve a settlement before he leaves, to avoid a subjective 
approach to the problem. In this connexion I gave him 
my frank opinion that the Nizam may well be placing 
more reliance on C. R. — a Southern Indian and a Mad- 
rassi — than on himself as Governor-General. Mount- 
batten was not worried about the Nizam's negative atti- 
tude. The vital objective of stirring up a sense of urgency 
among the ruling group in Hyderabad and of causing a 
renewal of negotiations has, he feels, been secured. For, 
he says, until 1 went neither side seemed prepared to make 
a new move. 


Tuesday, 25th May, 194H 
I left Simla on Sunday morning with Vernon after little 
more than thirty-six hours there. 1 am surfeited with 
travel. The logistics of my last week are a serious chal- 
lenge to constructive or sustained thought. We returned 
to the furnace in Delhi as advance guards to Mountbat- 
ten, who has spent the last twenty-four hours in Patiala. 
We were able to advise him on arrival that Mir Laik AH, 
who reached here on Sunday, has apparently come in com- 
pletely the wrong spirit and is so out of touch with reality 
that he claims that the crisis is now past. Mountbatten 
therefore got to work on him to-day in what f believe is 
the longest interview lie has had with anybody on the 
entire mission — five hours in all. 

Mountbatten began by giving him with brutal frank- 
ness a picture of what would probably happen if no settle- 
ment was reached and Hindu blood began to flow in 
Hyderabad. If after his departure in a few weeks India 
were to decide upon armed intervention, what could be 
done by the Hyderabad army? Laik Ali said he fully 



appreciated the military position, but that he considered 
accession ten times worse than paramountcy. He explain- 
ed that while he was personally in favour of democratic 
institutions, he was opposed to the introduction of respon- 
sible government in Hyderabad simply because it would 
without doubt lead to accession. When V. P. entered 
the room Laik Ali proposed a long-term agreement for 
five or even ten years covering the three central subjects. 


Wednesday, 26th May, 1948 
Discussion between V. P. and Laik Ali a deux went 
on far into the night, and V. P., with hij; prodigious 
powers of drafting and formula-finding, has produced 
comprehensive "Heads of Agreement". They are divid- 
ed into two parts, and cover eleven principal items, Part 
I dealing with the basic relation between Hyderabad and 
India, and Part II with the interim measures to implement 
Part I. V. P.'s "Heads of Agreement" met Laik Ali's 
request to be able to present to the Nizam a third alter- 
native to accession, which is ruled out anyhow, and a 

Muuntbatten himself is strongly of the opinion that a 
plebiscite would be the best solution, as the "Heads of 
Agreement" open up another depressing vista of protract- 
ed and niggling negotiation over detail. Laik All's per- 
sonal view would seem to be in the same sense, for he said 
that he thought a plebiscite would "save the face of both 
sides". At the Indian end the plebiscite finds favour, 
in particular with Patel, whose blessing is indispensable, 
even though there is recognition that it would not auto- 
matically lead to accession. 


Saturday, 29th May, 1948 
This is a most critical moment in the tantalising Hy- 
derabad negotiations'. V. P. has been to see Patel at 
Mussoori, and has returned from him with a constructive 


but strongly worded message. Patel comes down once 
more in favour of the plebiscite. As for the "Heads of 
Agreement", he accepts the basic relationship in Part I 
without amendment, but would tighten up the interim 
measures of Part II by shifting the balance of control 
more in favour of the non-Moslems. The final paragraph 
of Patel's message written in his own hand urges that if 
Laik Ali means business he should come up with pleni- 
potentiary powers from the Nizam. "It is no use", he 
writes, "discussing with a person who has to go back 
every time for instructions." 

He wants a telegram with a twenty-four-hour time-limit 
to be sent, saying that if Laik Ali cannot return with 
authority and agreement on the fundamentals within that 
deadline, the Government of India would draw the con- 
clusion that Hyderabad do not want to continue the ne- 
gotiations and are merely playing for lime. His last 
words are "finalise within a week". Nehru has expressed 
great distrust of Laik Ali. Intelligence about his acti- 
vities confirms that we are dealing with a very sly pro- 
crastinator, but his -or the Nizam's —response cannot be 
delayed much longer. 

On the credit side is Monckton's decision to come out 
again. Mountbatten has expressed his delight at the news, 
saying that lie will try to hold the position until his ar- 
rival, but pointing out that powerful influences — growing 
stronger every day — are at work militating against the 
settlement which they both want. 

Monckton, however, is not due in India until the 3rd 
June, which happens to be the day when I and my family 
are due to leave Bombay by sea for home. It is thus 
possible for Monckton's and my paths to cross in Bom- 
bay on the morning of the 3rd without undue administra- 
tive inconvenience, or danger of breach of confidence. As 
Monckton is arranging to fly straight on to Hyderabad 
and has not been fully in the picture on the developments 
during the period of my own visit onwards, Mountbatten 
sees in my presence a providential opportunity to brief 



him before he is called upon to give what may be the 
decisive advice to the Nizam. So there will be no fading 
away for me until L am finally aboard the ship. 

This evening there was a farewell Staff party to Fay 
and myself in the Panelled Room. We do not actually 
leave until Tuesday morning, but this was the only time 
that the Mountbattens could come, and, characteristic- 
ally, they wished to be there. It was a very pleasant 
family affair. J am very sorry to be leaving before the 
final curtain. 1 would have liked to have been present 
for the denouement over Hyderabad, and to have wit- 
nessed the series of ceremonies of formal farewell, which 
I am sure will burst the bounds of formality. But there 
it is. The phase-out programme was arranged some time 
back, and it would be very difficult to amend our plans. 
During the party there was much amusement at my alleg- 
ed likeness to a large portrait on the wall of the renown- 
ed Tippoo Sahib. The picture shows a man of dismal 
and almost morose countenance, and the comparison did 
little to raise my morale! 

Afterwards Mountbatten presented me with a silver 
cigarctte-box generously inscribed. We were much mov- 
ed bv these tokens of confidence, appreciation and friend- 
ship. For myself, my biggest reward has been the pri- 
vilege of serving a great man on a great mission. 


Sunday, 30th May, W48 
We have this evening been to a large reception given 
by V. P. at the Delhi Gymkhana Club, which attracted, 
so far as I could see, nearly every celebrity in Delhi. 
For the Mountbattens it is the first in a formidable se- 
quence of farewell parties during the next three weeks. 
Through the middle of this milling throng a messenger 
brought in no fewer than three letters from the Nizam, 
which immediately absorbed the attention of host, prin- 
cipal guest and Prime Minister. Most of the Jndian 
and Foreign Press were present, and it did not take these 


intelligence experts long to recognise that important and 
far from favourable information had come through, as 
Mountbatten, Nefiru and V. P., moving into a corner, 
put their heads together and talked in anxious under- 

At first sight it would seem that hopes of settlement 
under Mountbatlen's auspices have received a severe set- 
back. In the first letter the Nizam's reaction to the 
"Heads of Agreement" was simply that he could do no 
more than await Monckton's arrival. In the second he 
returned a brusque "no" to the discreet suggestion that 
he might consider appointing a new and more acceptable 
Prime Minister- -a suggestion which Laik Ali himself, with 
what degree of candour it is difficult to say, had express- 
ed himself as ready to sponsor if it would serve the cause 
of good-will. The third is simply a renewed invitation 
to Mountbatten to visit him in Hyderabad. Here again 
the terms of the invitation are singularly lacking in warmth 
or even courtesy of expression. 

Mountbatten decided— wisely, ] think — to reply only to 
the first letter, expressing regret at further delay and the 
hope thai when Laik Ali comes to Delhi the next time 
he would he allowed to bring with him plenipotentiary 
powers to reach a settlement. 

In addition to these deplorable notes of negation from 
the Nizam, Laik Ali has weighed in denying the accuracy 
of Vernon's notes on his meeting with Mountbatten, 
Nehru and V. P. on the 26th and asserting that he had 
never agreed to India's declaration of right to overriding 
legislation in the three central subjects. Everyone in the 
room at the time, however, is quite certain that he did 
agree. This letter only seems to reinforce Nehru's warn- 
ing that Laik Ali is not to be trusted, and that his sole 
objective is to delay matters. Monckton's intervention 
assumes hourly more decisive importance. 

In spite of the current tension Zain Yar Jung creates 
calmness and confidence with dinner-parties at Hydera- 
bad House. Almost our last engagement before leaving 



was to dine with him and his, family and entourage. As 
we sat out in the gardens after dinner, one of the Hydera- 
badi ladies exchanging polite conversation put such small 
items as Standstill Agreements, Instruments of Accession 
and Paramountcy into their proper perspective. "Delhi", 
she sighed, "is not what it was. There are no Moghul 
Emperors now!" 

M. v. cali:donia, Thursday, 3rd June, 1948 
As my last official duty before boarding the ship, I re- 
ported back to Mountbatten by telegram that Monckton 
at the outset was clearly in a state of doubt and despond- 
ency and unaware of the by now crucial importance of his 
advice in swaying events favourably. He felt the chances 
of the Nizam agreeing to anything were a hundred to seven 
against, and if he was over-pushed, he himself was ready 
to suggest that he should fight it out. 1 stressed the reality 
of the political tension and the urgency of the time-factor, 
and was able to say that f had left him in a much more 
constructive and hopeful frame of mind than I had found 

Monckton urged that he must have time to handle the 
Nizam in his own way, for he was hardly ever susceptible 
to direct assault in one interview. However, if and when 
a point of decision was really reached, he would come to 
Delhi immediately. After advising him of Mountbatten's 
and Patel's support for a plebiscite, 1 was relieved to hear 
that he had already, of his own accord, arrived at a con- 
clusion firmly in favour of this solution. He thinks that 
the Nizam's sharp reply about Laik Ali's possible replace- 
ment as touching his prerogatives might have been the 
outcome of some mishandling in the original transmission 
of the proposal. Monckton intends to tackle this problem 
himself, and considers Zain to be the only feasible 

Apart from the customs interruption, I was well satis- 
fied with this meeting. It helped to confirm my own be- 
lief that in politics much turns on the art of being avail- 



able in the right place al the right time. Monckton, for 
his part, said he was most grateful for it, as he confessed 
that while it would not have been desirable for him to 
stop off at Delhi first on this visit, he would have been 
at a disadvantage in going straight into the "Nizam wholly 
unbriefed on the situation from the Indian end. 

ionix)N, Wednesday, 23rd June, 1948 
We reached Liverpool yesterday, after twenty days at 
sea. The cyclone duly met us one hundred and fifty miles 
out of Bombay, and remained to lash us all the way to 
Aden. I was back just in time to watch the Mounlbattens 
and all the rest of the party touch down at Northolt, the 
same journey having taken them forty-eight hours by air. 

Both the Duke of Edinburgh and Mr. Atllee were at 
the airfield to invest this homecoming with unique distinc- 
tion, for 1 doubt whether a Royal Duke and a Prime 
Minister of I he day have been present together before 
to greet a Viceroy or Governor-General on his return. 
There were other Ministers, high officials and senior 
officers, B.B.C., Newsreel and Press representatives, not 
to mention photographers in large numbers, and last but 
not least a Guard of Honour of a hundred Indian sailors 
from their new cruiser, the /V////, which is still in 

Attlee's presence, loo, was particularly appropriate, for 
the transfer of power in India may well be regarded as 
the most momentous policy decision of his Premiership. 
In its conception and implementation he has throughout 
carried a special responsibility, so that history will un- 
doubtedly link Atlee and Mountbatlen in much the same 
way as it has Morlfiy and Minto, Montagu and 

While we were all in the ante-room having tea, Mount- 
batten, who was discussing the Hyderabad situation with 
the Prime Minister, called me over to say a few words 
about the impressions I had formed of the Nizam on my 
visit. Mr. Attlee listened carefully to the brief picture 



I drew; then said that he was quite satisfied that every- 
thing humanly possible had been done to secure an 
honourable settlement for the Nizam, and that we could 
all go away with clear consciences in this matter. I do 
not as yet know the details of the breakdown, having only 
heard over the intermittent ship's radio that attempts to 
reach an agreement had failed. 

It is stange to think that the Mount battens and their 
Staff party, who for the past fifteen months have worked 
in such close unison, are now dispersing for the last time. 
The more intensely you live in the vortex of great events, 
the harder it is to break away and accept normalcy as 
your lot. As we go off into this soft summer evening, 
most of us will be taking a spell of leave, if only to learn 
over again how to cope with the daily round at the 
routine pace. 

London, Monday, 28th June, 1948 
In spile of the lures and distractions of Bradman's fare- 
well Test Match at Lords, I have now had time to piece 
together the drama of Mountbatten's last three weeks in 
India. The ship's radio had reported only the briefest 
statement of the Hyderabad breakdown, together with 
short reports of Mountbattcn's final broadcast, and some 
indication that the farewell scenes in Delhi had been no 
less heart-warming than those of the 15th August, and in 
many ways even more remarkable, in so far as they were 
now simply expressions of personal gratitude to the 

From long talks 1 have had with Ronnie and Vernon, 
and one or two with Mountbatten himself since their re- 
turn, and from notes which were maintained right up to 
the day of their departure, it would seem that the course 
of events after my meeting with Monckton was briefly 
as follows. 

Monckton stayed for three days in Hyderabad, return- 
ing with Laik Ali to Delhi. At first the discussions were 
stormy and the negotiations more than once on the verge 



of complete collapse. Nehru refused to see Laik AH, 
Monckton threatened to leave for home. Mountbatten 
at one point saved the day by telephoning Nehru to say 
he was quite sure he could find a satisfactory solution, 
when in fact he had no idea how or where to seek it. 
But somehow a life-line was maintained. Nehru made 
a helpful speech on the 8th June, posing and answering 
the question for his critics as to why the Indian Army 
had not already marched in. He replied that whenever 
force was employed it created more problems than it 
solved. The storm subsided, and Mountbatten was left 
with effective control over the negotiations. 

Monckton, for his part, recognised that something more 
than a long-term plebiscite was required to restore the 
situation. Patel, from his sick-bed, still wanted unqualifi- 
ed acceptance of accession. He now urged that no more 
formulas should be provided from the Indian side. This 
was acceptable to Monckton, who put up two documents 
— a draft Firman to introduce responsible government, 
establish a Constituent Assembly early in 1949 and re- 
constitute immediately the existing Government. The 
second document was the first part of V.P.'s "Heads of 
Agreement"' in full. Laik Ali once again played for time, 
saying he must return to the Ni/am. On the 9th June 
rumours reached Delhi that a Pakistan representative was 
in Hyderabad, but Laik Ali denied this on oath, and 
agreement was reached that he should return to Hydera- 
bad for consultation. 

On the 12th June, Monckton reported getting the pro- 
posals past the Nizam and through the I Executive Coun- 
cil, except for two points — the issue of overriding legisla- 
tion, and the composition of the Constituent Assembly. 
This led to further difficult discussions, first between 
Mountbatten, Monckton and Nehru in Delhi, and then 
at a meetine with Patel and most of the Cabinet at which 
Mountbatten was present in Mussoori. But the proposals 
were agreed as modified by the Nizam subject to the dele- 
tion of any direct reference to parity in the composition 



of the Assembly, and the substitution, instead, of the 
words, kh in consultation with the leaders of the major 
political parties" in Hyderabad. 

On the 13th June, Monckton strongly urged Laik Ali 
to come up, with plenipotentiary powers this time, but 
once again he was limited in his discretion both by the 
Council and the Nizam himsell. On the 14th June, Laik 
Ali asked for four new amendments to the "Heads of 
Agreement". These were, first, that the Government of 
India would only request Hyderabad to pass legislation 
similiar to that in force in India, and not peculiar to 
Hyderabad; secondly, that Hyderabad should be allowed 
to retain eight thousand irregulars: thirdly, that the Raza- 
kars should be disbanded gradually, and not all at once, 
and fourthly, that the state of emergency under which 
India might station troops in Hyderabad should be de- 
fined under the Government of India Act. Mountbatten 
felt there was little hope of getting these additional points 
past the Government of India, but, much to his pleasure 
and surprise, Nehru was ready to agree. 

On the 15th June, Mountbatten saw the Hyderabad de- 
legation and reported this unexpected success. Laik Ali 
at once raised two new points. He wanted declarations 
of economic and fiscal freedom to be included. Once 
again the Government of India agreed to give sympathe- 
tic consideration, and suggested that these could be stress- 
ed in a collateral letter. Mountbatten said that on this 
point Nehru went so far as to propose the inclusion in 
the collateral letter provision of facilities for joint collabo- 
ration in the economic development of Hyderabad. Laik 
Ali, apparently not realising what he meant, actually asked 
for this to be deleted. Only on Monckton protesting that 
it would be most unwise for Hyderabad to pass over this 
offer, and Mountbatten explaining that it had hitherto 
always been conditional upon full accession, and was thus 
a further example of good-will, did Laik Ali withdraw 
his request. But, as Mountbatten pointed out, the incid- 
ent was typical of his exasperating obtuseness at this time. 


Laik AH left for Hyderabad with the final document 
and all the amendments, Monckton stressing upon him 
the need now for total acceptance, or total refusal. An 
answer was awaited at 7.30 that evening, but no message 
came through until 9.40, when the Nizam regretted his 
inability to give a final word without taking the opinion 
of his Council. This was physically not possible until the 
next day. The delay was accepted in Delhi. 

On the 16th al noon, Mountbatten and Monckton were 
informed that the Nizam had been recommended not to 
accept the proposals on tour new grounds which Mount- 
batten, and, I understood, even Monckton, considered so 
unjustifiable and ridiculous that it was decided that 
Monckton should fly down to Hyderabad during the night 
to read out and underline Mount batten's reply. 

His most serious objection was the deletion of the 
words "on a basis which 1 shall consider later" in a sub- 
paragraph of the firman referring to the setting up of 
the Constituent Assembly. This deletion had already been 
agreed to by his delegation, and could by no stretch of 
the imagination be regarded as a major point of substance. 
Another objection was his unwillingness to allow the eco- 
nomic agreement (which in any case had only been offered 
by India at the last minute) to be settled by a collateral 
letter. He now wanted it in the body of the agreement. 

By midday on the 17th there was a telephone message 
from Monckton with the one word "lost". By the even- 
ing a completely new point had been raised by the Nizam, 
which he had never mentioned before, concerning India's 
right to station troops in the event of emergency. He asked 
for the negotiations to^ be continued. Nehru and V. P. 
waited for Monckton, and then held a Press conference 
releasing the terms that had been made available to the 

Even now Nehru promised to leave this present offer 
open for acceptance and impose no time-limit. Monckton 
told Mountbatten that he had been particularly disappoint- 
ed to find that Laik Ali had spent three hours with Razvi 



before even seeing the Nizam. He also gave his view at 
an informal Press conference that the so-called blockade 
of Hyderabad had not been imposed by the central Gov- 
ernment, and probably not by the Provincial administra- 
tions either, but rather by the individual action of low- 
level officials. 

Mountbatten now withdrew officially from the negotia- 
tions, but made one last effort in a long, persuasive tele- 
gram, a revised "left barrel", which was supplemented 
by a message from Monckton. Both told him to have 
the courage of his convictions and not allow himself to 
sacrifice the interests of his State at the behest of the Ute- 
had clique. The Jttehad extremists made it quite clear 
that they were not prepared to enter into any concessions 
which would limit their control over the State, and when 
it came to the crisis, the Nizam lacked the will to assert 
himself against this group. 

Mountbatten feels that the main reason for failure is 
that the principals on either side have never been able to 
get together throughout the entire eleven months of nego- 
tiation, and he is still confident that if the Nizam had come 
to Delhi and he could have acted as mediator, agreement 
could have been reached. Similarly, if the Hyderabad 
delegation had had more negotiating powers and ability 
to appreciate Moneklon's magnificent negotiating skill and 
fundamental personal loyalty to his client, the Nizam, the 
outcome might well have been favourable. 

The prolonged Hyderabad negotiations, with their cres- 
cendo in the last two weeks of his term of office, made 
it impossible for Mountbatten to effect any last-minute 
act of mediation over Kashmir. Tn March he had secured 
the agreement of the two Prime Ministers to meel each 
other at roughly monthly intervals. But two months frad 
passed without any action on this, and Mountbatten sug- 
gested that Nehru should write to Liaquat to propose a 
meeting, preferably in Delhi, which would enable Liaquat 
to say good-bye to Mountbatten before he left. But the 



attempt had first to be postponed owing to Hyderabad, 
and then abandoned owing to Liaquat's illness. 

The ground had been prepared for detailed discussion 
of various solutions. The Indian Cabinet, although very 
bitter about reports of the participation of large regular 
Pakistan Army units, were still in a comparatively recep- 
tive mood for settlement. When Nehru sent detailed evid- 
ence of the Pakistan Army's intervention, it was signi- 
ficant that Liaquat in his reply did not specifically deny 
the charge, but stressed realistically the danger to the se- 
curity of Pakistan. "As the Indian Army approaches the 
North-west Frontier", he declared, "the tribesmen feel 
directly threatened." Jt is Mountbattcn's opinion that here 
again the inability of the two principals to come together 
at this particular moment was politically and psychologi- 
cally most unfortunate. 

But frustrations with the Nizam and over Kashmir are 
but incidentals when set against the Mountbattens' de- 
cisive victory over the hearts of the Indian people. The 
Mountbattens' last day in India was, 1 hear from all sides, 
a triumph beyond contrivance or imagination, ft was 
borne in upon them with overwhelming emphasis that 
India's people and Government had recognised the mean- 
ing of their mission and the sincerity of their endeavours, 
and were hailing them as liberators and friends. 

There was first a farewell address by the Delhi Munici- 
pality. To receive this they drove through densely packed 
streets, along the Chandni Chowk, the great highway of 
Old Delhi, down which no Viceroy had passed since the 
assassination attempt on Hardinge in 1911. They were 
mobbed, cheered and garlanded all the way to the Gandhi 
grounds, where a crowd of a quarter of a million had 
gathered, and where a further quarter of a million were 
trying to gain entrance. 

In the evening at the last of the great State banquets,* 
given this time by the Cabinet, Nehru spoke in memorable 

* It is interesting to note that the Monntbattens themselves 
throughout their fifteen months in India carried through, on top 



terms, paying heartfelt tributes to the Mountbattens, not 
forgetting Pamela, "who, coming straight from school, 
and possessing all the charm she does, did grown-up per- 
son's work in this troubled scene of India". Of Mount- 
batten himself he declared, "You came here, sir, with a 
high reputation, but many a reputation has foundered in 
India. You lived here through a period of great difficulty 
and crisis, and yet your reputation has not foundered. 
That is a remarkable feat." 

He next spoke of Lady Mountbatten as possessing "the 
healer's touch". "Wherever you have gone, you have 
brought solace, you have brought hope and encourage- 
ment. Is it surprising therefore that the people of India 
should love you and look up to you as one of themselves 
and should grieve that you are going?" 

Referring to the wonderful demonstration of friendship 
and affection by the common people of Delhi four hours 
before, "J do not know", Nehru said, "how Lord and 
Lady Mountbatten felt on that occasion, but used as I 
am to these vast demonstrations here, 1 was much affected, 
and I wondered how it was that an Englishman and 
Englishwoman could become so popular in India during 
this brief period of time. ... A period certainly of achieve- 
ment and success in some measure, but also a period of 
sorrow and disaster. . , . Obviously this was not connected 
so much with what had happened, but rather with the 
good faith, the friendship and the love of India that these 
two possessed. . . . You may have many gifts and presents, 
but there is nothing more real or precious than the love 
and affection of the people. You have seen yourself, Sir 
and Madam, how that love and affection work." 

Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten, visibly moved, 
replied with the eloquence of the heart. At the end gifts 
were exchanged, the Government presenting the Mount- 

of all their other activities, a prodigious programme of enter- 
tainment at Government House, which played no small part in 
the promotion of good-will. Altogether they entertained 7,605 
guests to luncheon, 8,313 to dinner and 25,287 to garden-parties, 
at homes and tea-parties. 



battens with an inscribed tray bearing the signatures of 
all the Governors of the Provinces, and Cabinet, and 
Mount batten handing over on behalf of the King the gold 
plate presented originally by the Worshipful Company of 
Goldsmiths and Silversmiths to King George V for use 
in the Slate dining-room of his Viceroy in New Delhi. 
This he did at the King's express wish as "a symbol of 
the friendship of all English men and women, and indeed 
of all the people in the United Kingdom to the people of 
India". After the dinner there was a glittering reception, 
which was attended by no fewer than six thousand guests. 

Among Lady Mountbatten's last public acts was to 
visit the two great refugee camps of Kurukshetra and 
Panipat, where some three hundred thousand refugees still 
shelter. One of the Indian A.D.CVs with her reported 
that he had never visited scenes like it in India. The re- 
fugees gathered round her in their thousands, in tears at 
saying good-bye to her. In many other camps refugees 
collected their pice and annas to buy a railway ticket for 
one of their members just to carry some small gift to her 
as token of gratitude. 

It was at another unique gathering- a dinner given to 
the Mounlbattens by the entire Diplomatic Corps in Delhi 
— that the Chinese Ambassador, doyen of the Corps, a 
scholar and a man of fine sensibilities, came nearest per- 
haps to catching the inner meaning and mood of this his- 
toric leave-taking. By way of bidding farewell to the 
Mountbattens he quoted the lines of a famous Chinese 
poet; — 

"Deep is the water in the Peuch-blossom spring, 
Deeper still is our*hearts' feeling 
When good friends are leaving." 


In the course of this narrative more than two hundred 
and fifty names of prominent personalities are mentioned. 
Many of the references are only incidental and most of 
them self-explanatory. Footnotes have been kept to a 
minimum. With the coming of Independence the func- 
tions and duties of many of the leaders and officials either 
changed or were terminated. The following are some of 
the principal dramatis persona', with (where applicable) 
their official positions before and after 15th August, 1947 
(Independence Day), within the period covered by this 
book. Cross-references are provided wherever Christian 
names or abbreviated titles have been used. It should be 
noted that C.O.H.Q. and S.E.A.C. refer to Combined 
Operations Headquarters and South-east Asia Command 
(Lord Mounlbuttcn's two major War Commands). 

Abdullah, Sheikh, Leader of the National Conference 
Party in Kashmir Slate. After accession to India was 
appointed Prime Minister by the Maharaja of Kashmir. 
Member of Indian delegation to United Nations, 
January 1948. 

Abell, G. E. B. (later Sir George), Private Secretary to 

the Viceroy (P.S.V.). 
Ali, Mir Laik, President of the Nizam's Council from 

November 1947. 
Amrit Kaur, Rajkumari, Mahatma Gandhi's Secretary; 

Minister for Health in the Government of the Dominion 

of India. 

Auchinleck, Field-Marshal Sir Claude, Commander-in- 
Chief in India until 15th August; Supreme Commander 
administering partition of Indian Army until 30th 
November, 1947. 




Ayyengar, Gopalaswami, Minister without Portfolio in the 
Government of the Dominion of India; Leader of Indian 
delegation to United Nations in January 1948. 

Baldev Sinqh, Sardar, Sikh leader; Member for Defence 
in the Interim Government; Minister for Defence in the 
Government of the Dominion of India. 

BItabha, C. H., Member for Works, Mines and Power 
in the Interim Government; Minister for Commerce in 
the Government of the Dominion of India. 

Bhopal, The Nawab of, Ruler of Bhopal State; Chancellor 
of the Chamber of Princes until May 1947. 

Bikaner, The Maharaja of, Ruler of Bikaner State. 

Brabourne, Lord and Lady, son-in-law and elder daughter 
of Earl and Counter Mountbatten of Burma. 

Brock man. Captain (S.) R. V., R. N., Personal Secretary 
to the Viceroy; Private Secretary to the Governor- 
General of India from 15th August, 1947. 

Chhatari, The Nawab of. President of the Nizam's Coun- 
cil from May 1947 to November 1947. 

C. R. refers to C. Rajagopalachari. 

Erskine Crum, Lieutenant-Colonel V. l\. Conference 
Secretary to the Viceroy; and to the Governor-General 
of India. 

Gandhi, Mahatma, "father of the Nation". 

Gandhi, Devadas, Managing hditor of the Hindustan 

Times, and son of the Mahatma. 
George refers to Sir George Abcll and to Commander 

Nicholls, according to context. 
Hyderabad, The Ni/am of. Ruler of Hyderabad State. 
Ismay, Lord, Chief of the Viceroy's Staff; and of the 

Governor-General of I«dia's Staff until December, 1947. 
Jenkins, Sir Evan, Governor of the Punjab until 15th 

August, 1947. 

Jinnah, Mohammed Ali (Quaid-e-Azam), President of the 
All India Moslem League; first Governor-General of the 
Dominion of Pakistan. 

Kashmir, The Maharaja of. Ruler of Jammu and Kash- 
mir State. 



Kripalani, Acharya J. B., President of Congress. 

Liaquat Alt Khan, General Secretary of the All India 
Moslem League; Member for Finance in the Interim 
Government; Prime Minister of the Government of the 
Dominion of Pakistan. 

Lockhart, Lieutenant-General Sir Rob, General Officer 
Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, India; Go- 
vernor of the North-west Frontier Province from June 
to 15th August, 1947; Commander-in-Chief Indian 
Army, Dominion of India, 15th August, 1947, to 
January 1948. 

Mat thai, Dr. John, Member for Transport and Railways 
in the Interim Government' Minister for Transport and 
Railways in the Government of the Dominion of India. 

Menon, V. K. Krishna, High Commissioner for India in 
the United Kingdom from August 1947. 

Menon, V. P., Reforms Commissioner to the Viceroy; and 
from July 1947 Secretary of the States Department, 
Government of the Dominion of India. 

Mievillc, Sir Fric, Principal Secretary to the Viceroy. 

Mohammed AH, Financial Adviser in the Military Finance 
Department of the Government of India; Member of 
the Steering Committee of the Partition Council; 
Secretary-General of the Dominion of Pakistan. 

Monckton, Sir Walter, Constitutional Adviser to the 
Nizam of Hyderabad. 

Mounthatten oj Burma, Rear-Admiral the Viscount 
(created Karl, August 1947), last Viceroy of India 22nd 
March to 14th August, 1947. First Governor-General 
of the Dominion of India, 15th August, 1947, to 21st 
lune. 1^48. 

Mounthatten of Burma, Countess, wife of the last Viceroy 

and first Governor-General of India. 
Mounthatten, the Lady Pamela, younger daughter of Earl 

and Countess Mounlbatten of Burma. 
Munshi, K. M., Agent-General for India in Hyderabad 

from December 1947. 


Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal, Member for External Affairs 
and Commonwealth Relations in the Interim Govern- 
ment; Vice-President of the Interim Government; Prime 
Minister of the Dominion of India. 

Nicholls, Commander (S.) G. H., R. N., Deputy Personal 
Secretary to the Viceroy; Deputy Private Secretary to 
the Governor-General of India from 15th August, 1947. 

Nishtar, Sardar Abdur Rab, Member for Communications 
in the Interim Government; Minister for Communica- 
tions and States in the Government of the Dominion 
of Pakistan. 

Patel, H. M., Secretary of the Indian Cabinet; Member 
of the Steering Committee of the Partition Council. 

Patel, Sardar Vallabhbhai. Member for Home Affairs and 
for Information and Broadcasting, and from July 1947 
for States in the Interim Government; Deputy Prime 
Minister of the Dominion of India. 

Patiala, Maharaja of. Ruler of Patiala State, and from 
May to August 1947 last Chancellor of the Chamber 
of Princes. 

Prasad. Dr. Rajendra, Member for Food and Agriculture 
in the Interim Government and President of the Con- 
stituent Assembly. 

Raiagopulacluiri, Chakravarti, Member for Industries and 
Supplies in the Interim Government; Governor of Ben- 
gal after 15th August, 1947, and first Indian Governor- 
General of the Dominion of India, 21st June. 1948. 

Ri'cs, Major-General T. W., Commander Punjab Bound- 
ary Force July to September 1947; Head of Governor- 
General's (India) Military Emergency Staff September 
to December 1947. 

Ronnie, refers to Captain (S.) R. V. Brockman, R.N. 

Scott, I. D., Deputy Secretary to the Viceroy (D.P.S.V.). 

Trivedi, Sir Chandulal, Governor of Orissa, Governor of 
East Punjab from lMh August, 1947. 

Vernon, refers to Lieutenant -Colonel V. F. Erskine Crum. 

V . P. refers to V. P, Menon.